Morning Brief: NYC Comptroller Raises Concerns About Facebook

March 30, 2018   Stephen Taub

The social media pioneer and hedge fund favorite is now starting to feel some heat from institutional investors over the Cambridge Analytica controversy.

Facebook is now starting to feel some heat from institutional investors in reaction to the Cambridge Analytica controversy. New York City comptroller Scott Stringer — the investment adviser to New York City’s pension funds — fired off a letter to Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, an independent director at Facebook and the chief executive of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in which he raised concerns about possible regulation of the social media giant, according to The New York Times. The pension fund, which owns $895 million of Facebook stock, called on Facebook’s independent directors to take four steps to help restore investor confidence: add at least three independent directors, name an independent director as chairman, create a committee of independent directors to oversee the company’s data privacy policies and risks, and institute a clawback policy that would enable the board to "recoup executive pay in the event of violations of law, regulation, or company policy." Shares of Facebook, the most widely-held hedge fund stock, surged 4.4 percent Thursday to close at $159.79.

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Ricky Sandler’s Eminence Capital boosted its stake in Liberty Media by more than one quarter to nearly 10.87 million shares, or 5.4 percent of the media giant. The filing was made on form 13G, meaning the investment is passive.

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Barclays raised its price target on hedge fund favorite Autodesk from $140 to $152 after the investment bank adjusted its models for fiscal years 2020 through 2023. At year-end, at least 12 hedge funds counted the software company among their top 10 U.S. longs, down from 16 the prior three-month period, according to Goldman Sachs. For example, it is the fifth largest U.S. long of Darsana Capital Partners and White Elm Capital. Citadel Advisors and Viking Global Investors were among the top 10 shareholders.


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