Some hedge fund 'Tiger Cubs' slash Ralph Lauren, others add

NEW YORK Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:06pm EST

NEW YORK Nov 14 (Reuters) - A group of hedge funds seeded by veteran investor Julian Robertson cropped their stake in fashion brand Ralph Lauren Corp in the third quarter, even as the retailer attracted some of the biggest names in the $2 trillion hedge fund industry.

Several so-called Tiger Cubs - hedge funds launched with seed money by Roberston of Tiger Management - either reduced or dissolved their holdings of Ralph Lauren during the three-month period to Sept. 30, according to regulatory filings released on Wednesday.

Ralph Lauren has gained almost 9 percent this year, but with sharp highs and lows during the first half of the year.

Patrick McCormack's $2 billion Tiger Consumer Management almost halved its stake in the clothing company to about 264,000 shares from 484,000 shares. Philipe Laffont's Coatue Management reduced its stake to roughly 220,000 shares, down from about 345,000 shares in the second quarter.

Another Tiger Cub, Stephen Mandel's Lone Pine, owned about 4.3 million shares in the stock at the end of third quarter, a slight decrease from its holding in the second quarter.

And Andreas Halvorsen, who runs Viking Global, slashed the firm's stake altogether. The firm had owned about 320,000 shares in the three months to June.

Besides Robertson's disciples, Ricky Sandler, who manages Eminence Capital, sold out of its small Ralph Lauren position in the same period.

But some of the hedge fund industry's biggest and best-known names, including other Tiger Cubs, took a shine to the preppy clothing label in the third quarter.

John Griffin, who launched his Blue Ridge Capital in 1996 after working for Robertson at Tiger, increased his stake in the retailer to 1.64 million shares in the third quarter, from 935,000.

Lee Ainslie, another disciple of Robertson based in Texas and who runs Maverick Capital, upped his holding of Ralph Lauren stock in the third quarter to about 1.4 million shares from about 970,000 the quarter before.

Meanwhile, Eton Park Capital Management, the $12 billion hedge fund run by former Goldman Sachs trader Eric Mindich, opened a new 250,000 share stake in Ralph Lauren in the last quarter.

Bain Capital's hedge fund unit, Brookside Capital Management also opened a new position of about 470,000 shares in the retailer.

Hedge funds disclosed their equity holdings as of Sept. 30 in so-called 13-F filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Funds submit their holdings roughly 45 days after the end of the quarter and are inherently backward-looking, although they offer a glimpse into sectors and stocks that savvy hedge fund managers are interested in.

Ralph Lauren reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings earlier in November, with revenue holding up despite fears about the prospects for luxury sales. The stock closed at $149.13 on Wednesday, down 2.2 percent. In after hours trading the stock was up 0.05 percent.