David Einhorn isn’t a Steve Ballmer fan, but he’s still a big believer in Microsoft — at least at its current share price.
Greenlight Capital, the hedge fund run by Einhorn, boosted its stake in Microsoft to 14.8 million shares as of June 30, up nearly 63 percent from 9.1 million shares three months earlier, according to a financial disclosure statement filed with the SEC yesterday.
On the surface, the move might seem odd, given that Einhorn publicly called on Microsoft’s CEO to step down in May, sparking widespread news coverage by questioning Ballmer’s leadership and saying it was time for the board to give someone else a chance to run the company.
However, it makes more sense after reading the transcript of his speech, which shows that Einhorn is actually bullish on Microsoft’s underlying business. The problem, in his view, is that Ballmer is dragging the stock down. But the company is trading at a “remarkable discount,” he said.
So by boosting his stake, he’s taking advantage of what he sees as a bargain.
Microsoft, currently trading around $25 a share, has been trading in $23-$29 range over the past year, and has only occasionally broken through $30 over the past decade. The stock is down 8.6 percent since the beginning of the year, but actually up by more than 5 percent since Einhorn’s remarks in May.
And hey, it could be worse for Microsoft. MarketWatch notes that Einhorn has completely shed his previously sizable Yahoo stake.