TSMC out of favour with slew of funds, filings show

NEW YORK: Investment firms Tiger Global Management, GQG Partners and Capital Group, BlackRock Inc, as well as JPMorgan & Chase were among the biggest sellers of Taiwanese contract chipmaker TSMC, in the fourth quarter, alongside Berkshire Hathaway, regulatory filings show.

On Tuesday, Warren Buffet’s Berkshire unveiled in a filing it cut its position in Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd by 86.2% to 8.29 million sponsored American depositary shares only roughly three months after having bought US$4.1 billion (RM18 billion) worth of chipmaker stock.

The announcement drove shares in TSMC down 6% on Wednesday (Feb 15), although they remain up 23.5% this year.

TSMC was not immediately available for comment.

Equity long-short hedge fund Tiger entirely sold its 1.3 million shares in TSMC in the fourth quarter, a stake worth US$119 million at current prices. Just like Berkshire, the firm had bought the shares in the third quarter.

One of the biggest sellers of TSMC was Fort Lauderdale-based investment firm GQG Partners. It slashed its position by 63%, still remaining with 6.7 million, or US$616.2 million. GQG did not immediately comment on the matter.

Fund manager Capital Group also sold over 9.5 million shares in the chipmaker, regulatory filings showed. Capital Group declined to comment on its investment decisions.

JPMorgan and BlackRock sold roughly 4 million shares in TSMC each. JPMorgan declined to comment and BlackRock did not immediately respond to a request for comments.

Berkshire’s investors are still trying to figure out why Buffett decided to sell most of its stake in the company. On Tuesday, Charles Munder, a director and vice-chairman of Berkshire, said TSMC is the “strongest semiconductor company on Earth”, without elaborating on the reasons for the sale.

“I’m a bit baffled. Maybe Berkshire decided it wanted to add Apple more than he wanted to own TSMC,” said Bill Smead, chief investment officer of Smead Capital Management, which is an investor in Berkshire.

A long-time investor in Berkshire, Thomas Russo, a partner at Gardner, Russo & Gardner, speculated Buffett might have seen an environment change, which could not be good for the TSMC. “Berkshire reserves the right to turn on a dime to redeploy the money, to respond to circumstances.”– Reuters