Fund managers clash over Snap shares

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fund managers expressed sharply contradicting views on Snap Inc during the social media company’s challenged third quarter, regulatory filings showed on Tuesday.

A woman stands in front of the logo of Snap Inc. on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) while waiting for Snap Inc. to post their IPO, in New York City, NY, U.S. March 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The Venice, California-based maker of messaging app Snapchat debuted on the stock market in a March public offering that was the hottest of any tech stock in years.

But its earnings reports have underwhelmed Wall Street, including results earlier this month that showed revenue and user growth for the third quarter well below expectations, as it struggles to compete with Facebook Inc’s Instagram.

The company responsible for T. Rowe Price Group Inc’s funds reported a more than 90 percent decline in the number of Snap shares it held at the end of September. T. Rowe is Snap’s fifth-largest shareholder, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Soros Fund Management LLC, named for its legendary chairman George Soros, cut entirely its stake in Snap during the third quarter, a filing showed.

By contrast, companies controlled by Fidelity Investments held 11 million more Snap shares than during the prior quarter, and technology-focused hedge fund Coatue Management LLC increased its stake by 1.7 million shares. Fidelity is Snap’s sixth-largest shareholder, while Coatue is the seventh-largest, the Thomson Reuters data shows.

T. Rowe and Soros did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Fidelity, Coatue and Snap declined to comment.

Snap shares sank 18 percent in the third quarter and another 14 percent since the end of September. The stock closed up 1.4 percent at $12.57 on Tuesday.

Other significant shareholders include OppenheimerFunds Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC, according to Thomson Reuters data based on filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

U.S.-based fund managers disclose their stock holdings quarterly to the regulatory agency in what is known as a 13F filing. Other investors pore over those filings for clues about what savvy traders are doing.

But relying on the filings to develop an investment strategy comes with some risk because the disclosures are incomplete, backward-looking and come out 45 days after the end of each quarter.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Additional reporting by David Ingram in San Francisco; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Matthew Lewis