Soros More Than Doubles Stake in Microsoft

Billionaire investor George Soros reported Tuesday that he had more than doubled his stake in Microsoft Corp.'s common stock to 415,497 shares as of March 31 from a previously disclosed stake of 198,075 shares.

Soros reported in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that he had also taken a stake in the call options of the world's largest software maker with 684,000 shares worth about $19.06 million as of March 31.

Overall, Soros' stake in Microsoft increased to $30.6 million from $5.9 million.

He also reported that he had cut or dropped his stakes in a number of other technology-oriented companies as of the end of the first quarter, including Oracle Corp., Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., and eBay Inc.

Soros dropped his stakes in eBay and Take-Two, in which he had previously held 101,745 shares and 1.01 million shares, respectively as of Dec. 31. He cut his stake in Oracle to 99,000 shares from 808,000 shares.

He also dropped his stakes in Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. , in which he had previously held 1.07 million shares, and in Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc., in which he had held 814,100 shares as of Dec. 31.

A notable trend in his portfolio was the acquisition of relatively small stakes in dozens of retailers and consumer companies, many of which are mainstays at malls across the United States.

The new stakes included Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., Blockbuster Inc., Big Lots Inc., DSW Inc., Hot Topic Inc., Men's Wearhouse Inc., Payless ShoeSource Inc., Restoration Hardware Inc., and Starbucks Corp.


Soros also cut stakes in a few clothing retailers, dropping his holdings in Abercrombie & Fitch Co. to 66,698 shares from 438,000 shares and reducing his holdings in American Eagle Outfitters Inc. and Limited Brands Inc.

The overall value of Soros' fund, Soros Fund Management LLC, dropped 19% to $2.48 billion from the previous quarter.