Third Point cuts United Technologies stake after opposing Raytheon deal

BOSTON (Reuters) - Hedge fund Third Point LLC said on Tuesday that it recently cut its investment in United Technologies Corp UTX.N, becoming the second activist hedge fund to sell shares after the company announced a merger with Raytheon Co. RTN.N that the funds said they would not support.

FILE PHOTO - Daniel S. Loeb, founder of Third Point LLC, participates in a panel discussion during the Skybridge Alternatives (SALT) Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada May 9, 2012. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

The New York-based firm sold 480,000 shares of United Technologies stock during the second quarter, cutting its holding by 7 percent to 6 million shares, according to a regulatory filing made on Tuesday.

In June, Third Point founder Daniel Loeb told the company its plan to merge with Raytheon was a “baffling change” in strategy.

Last week William Ackman, another prominent activist investor, told clients that his Pershing Square Capital Management had sold all of its 5.8 million United Technologies shares.

Ackman was the first to voice strong opposition to the proposed merger and wrote to United Technologies’ chief executive in early June that he could not understand the deal’s logic.

Both hedge funds, whose moves can influence other investors, told United Technologies that they did not approve of the deal, which is expected to come to a vote next year.

United Technologies is in the process of streamlining its operations, actions both hedge funds endorsed, by selling off its Otis elevator and Carrier buildings systems units.

The sales by both Ackman and Loeb are noteworthy because United Technologies had been big holdings in each man’s portfolio.

At Pershing Square, which invests roughly $8 billion, the United Technologies position made up roughly 11 percent of the portfolio at the end of the first quarter. Pershing Square has not yet made its so-called 13-F, a filing that details the amount of U.S. stock held by investment companies at the end of the previous quarter.

While 13-F filings are backward looking, they are closely watched all the same by investors for hints on what big, often secretive hedge funds are thinking. The bulk of the filings will be made on Wednesday.

At Third Point, United Technologies remains the firm’s second largest position, making up roughly 10% of its $15 billion portfolio, at the end of the second quarter, Tuesday’s filing shows.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Steve Orlofsky