Paulson Cut Hartford Stake After Pushing to Break Up Insurer
Insurer still plans to sell off life insurance branch; Paulson has lost about a third of his shares in the company.
Insurance Networking News, November 15, 2012
Billionaire John Paulson cut his hedge fund’s stake in Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. after pushing the insurer to simplify the company by selling businesses.
Paulson & Co. held 19.5 million Hartford Financial shares at the end of September worth $380 million, down from 31.3 million shares three months earlier, according to a filing today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The Hartford, Connecticut-based insurer has gained 24 percent this year.
Hartford CEO Liam McGee plans to sell the company’s life-insurance operations after Paulson urged a breakup of the company in February to boost the share price. Paulson remains the insurer’s fifth-biggest shareholder, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The New York-based hedge fund also pared its investment in Gold Fields Ltd. in the third quarter, selling 11.5 million American depository receipts, according to the filing. Paulson now holds 6.5 million ADRs valued at $84 million.
Paulson, 56, lost 17 percent this year through October in his Advantage Plus Fund, which seeks to profit from corporate events such as takeovers and bankruptcies and uses leverage to amplify returns. Slumping gold-mining stocks have contributed to his declines this year.
ADRs of Gold Fields, the fourth-largest producer of the precious metal, have declined 22 percent this year. Standard & Poor’s downgraded the company’s bonds to below investment grade today.
Paulson also sold its entire stake in New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co., which was valued at $142.9 million. The hedge fund sold all of its 2.7 million shares of Baxter International Inc.
Paulson added 8.5 million shares in Life Technologies Corp., bringing his holding to 13.5 million shares worth $436.3 million. The Carlsbad, California-based company that sequences genetics for medical purposes is now the hedge fund’s fourth- biggest U.S. stock investment by market value.
The securities reported in Paulson’s Form 13F had a total market value of $12.7 billion as of Sept. 30, the filing shows. That was up from $12 billion as of June 30.
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