Every quarter, large money managers have to disclose what they've bought and sold, via "13F" filings. Their latest moves can shine a bright light on smart stock picks.
Today let's look at Tiger Global Management. The company's reportable stock portfolio totaled $9.1 billion in value as of March 31 and contained just a few dozen stocks. Indeed, the top 10 holdings make up about 57% of the overall portfolio's value.
So what does Tiger Global's latest quarterly 13F filing tell us? Here are a few interesting details: The company established a new position in Ctrip.com International, Ltd. (NASDAQ:CTRP), while boosting its sizable position in Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) by 19% and quadrupling its position in JD.com Inc. (NASDAQ:JD) -- its largest holding.
JD.com Inc., with a market capitalization of about $48 billion, is China's largest online direct sales company, serving consumers through its jd.com website and mobile apps. Its infrastructure features (as of the end of March) seven fulfillment centers, 143 warehouses in 43 cities, and 3,539 delivery and pickup stations. It's easy to see what Tiger Global Management would like in JD.com: Its revenue has increased sixfold since just 2011, with recent first-quarter results featuring revenue up 62% year over year and orders fulfilled rising 76%.
Recent growth initiatives include opening a "Japanese Mall" where Chinese consumers can buy Japanese goods online, and building an open ecosystem with its Jongdong Weilian open-source mobile app, encouraging connected devices to communicate with each other. JD.com is often described as a Chinese Amazon.com, but there are some important, and even worrisome, differences. For one thing, JD.com faces more deep-pocketed competition, such as Alibaba, which one recent survey shows consumers preferring. Its profit margins are lower than Amazon's, and it's burning cash, while Amazon is free cash flow-positive. JD.com is promising, but it's not a slam-dunk in e-commerce.
Ctrip.com International, Ltd. is another China-based company, and one that has grown briskly, with revenue rising nearly tenfold since 2006 and more than 600 million Chinese having downloaded its app. Focused on online travel bookings, it has lately been facing more competition, from eLong and Qunar Cayman Islands Ltd.
Ctrip.com's competitive strategy has been largely an acquisitive one, buying a 38% stake in eLong from Expedia for roughly $400 million and attempting to buy Qunar outright. Qunar spurned its advances, though, which sent shares of Ctrip.com down, as investors anticipated a resulting price war.
It's also reasonable to expect Ctrip.com to ramp up advertising and marketing spending, which will put pressure on profitability. Already, in the past year or two, both Ctrip.com and Qunar have boosted their capital spending, while their free cash flow figures dive deeper into the red. Some speculate that the companies may find a way to work together, to prevent too much bloodshed, and some are bullish in part because of U.S. online travel giant Priceline Group's investment in Ctrip.com. Shares of Ctrip.com have fallen more than 12% from a late-May high, leading some investors, such as those at Tiger Global Management, to see a buying opportunity.
Netflix, has been very, very good to its long-term investors, growing by an average of 45% annually over the past decade. Over the same period, revenue has grown by an annual average of 27%, while net income has averaged nearly 29%. The streaming giant boasts more than 62 million members in more than 50 nations, viewing a total of more than 100 million hours per day -- including an increasing amount of content exclusive to Netflix, such as the Orange Is the New Black, Grace and Frankie, and Chef's Table series. The company is getting more aggressive about its international expansion plans, aiming to be in 200 markets by 2017, which is rather soon. (Bloomberg has reported negotiations regarding entering China.)
A possible downside to the company's rapid growth is the growth of long-term debt on its balance sheet. In addition, Netflix does have some able competition, in the form of Hulu and Amazon.com's Prime Instant Video offerings -- both also offering their own original content. The original content creates more value for users, making successful price increases more possible. Netflix is in a dominant position in a rapidly growing field, so it's hard to ignore, as Tiger Global and other investors have concluded.
We should never blindly copy any investor's moves, no matter how talented the investor. But it can be useful to keep an eye on what smart folks are doing, and 13F forms can be great places to find intriguing candidates for our portfolios.