George Soros, who made $1 billion shorting the British pound in 1992, closed his $25.5 billion fund to outsiders in July 2011 and returned almost $1 billion to clients. Over its 26-year life, his Quantum Fund was the best-performing fund in history. His firm now focuses solely on managing his and his family’s assets. In the fourth quarter, Soros drastically increased his stake in Google (GOOG) and announced a large stake in Comverse Technology Inc. (CMVT). Soros increased his fund’s weighting in tech stocks almost 17% to become 23.7% of his portfolio in the fourth quarter.
Soros had been trading shares of Google since prior to 2007 but had completely sold out in the second quarter of 2011. He then bought 1,126 shares in the third quarter of 2011 at about $550 per share. In the fourth quarter, he bought his largest stake to date — 258,900 shares at about $592, for a total investment of $154 million. Google is now his fifth largest holding, with 7.3% of his portfolio.
Google, once known for being a search engine giant, has grown to become the largest maker of smartphone software. But its Android platform lost market share in the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter, 50 percent of phones sold ran on the Android operating system, compared to 30.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, but down from 52.5% in the third quarter. Smartphone sales overall increased 47.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared to the fourth quarter of 2010.
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