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Third Point continues buying Campbell shares in Q4, exits Alibaba holding

Third Point LLC increased its holding of Campbell Soup Co. shares in the fourth quarter of 2018, though at a slower rate than during the previous quarter, according to a filing with the SEC.

The New York-based hedge fund upped the number of shares it owns in the food company by nearly 17% to 21 million, according to the filling, which reported Third Point's ownership as of Dec. 31, 2018. The stake, worth $692.8 million as of Dec. 31, accounted for just under 7% of outstanding common shares, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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The increase was not as dramatic as the 224% jump in ownership of Campbell shares that Third Point reported for the third quarter, when it was leading an activist campaign at the maker of Pace salsa and Pepperidge Farm cookies. During the fourth quarter, Campbell agreed to seat two of Third Point's nominees on its board of directors and give the hedge fund's representatives opportunities to present proposed strategies to the Camden, N.J.-based company's management.

Third Point also decreased its stake in beverage maker Constellation Brands Inc. 27% to nearly 1.8 million shares during the fourth quarter. Worth $281.4 million as of Dec. 31, the stake now represents 0.9% of outstanding common shares in the company, according to Market Intelligence.

The fund's stake in auction house Sotheby's, meanwhile, remained unchanged from the third quarter at about 6.7 million shares — 14.4% of common shares outstanding — worth $264.7 million as of Dec. 31.

Third Point eliminated its stakes in three consumer companies during the quarter: Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., home builder Lennar Corp. and Brazilian software maker Arco Platform Ltd.

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In total, the dollar value of Third Point's holdings in the consumer sector declined 49% during the quarter.

Consumer companies constituted the fund's third-largest holding by dollar value at the end of the fourth quarter, accounting for $1.24 billion. Third Point ended the quarter with larger holdings in healthcare, worth $2.58 billion, as well as financials, which were worth $1.41 billion.

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