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Soros Reports No Stake In Google; Adds JP Morgan, Goldman

By Brett Philbin Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Billionaire investor George Soros's Soros Fund Management LLC reported no stake in Internet giant Google Inc. (GOOG), while reporting new positions in big banks J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS). The famed investor also reported a holding in packaged-foods company Sara Lee Corp. (SLE). Previously, the firm had disclosed owning 259,000 shares of Google, which was one of its top positions in terms of market value, as of the end of the fourth quarter. During the first quarter though, Soros appeared to bet on a rebound in financial stocks, reporting 606,400 shares of J.P. Morgan, which were valued at $28 million as of March 31, according to a regulatory filing late Tuesday. Soros also showed stakes of 2.3 million shares in Regions Financial, worth $15 million, and a smaller, 120,000-share position in Goldman Sachs, valued at $14.9 million. Among other financials, Soros reported a reduced stake in Wells Fargo, in which he held 537,000 shares, down from 1.2 million shares in the fourth quarter. Overall, the value of Soros's holdings rose to $6.8 billion, up from $4.6 billion, in the fourth quarter. Soros reported a 40% rise in the number of total holdings to 201 positions, a contrast to his slimmed-down portfolio in the prior period. Soros, who once dubbed gold "the ultimate asset bubble," again juggled his positions in the precious metal, raising his stake in the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), a gold-backed exchanged-traded fund, to 319,550 shares, up from 48,350 shares as of Dec. 31. The holding is now valued at $51.8 million. In other moves, Soros disclosed a new debt position in Digital River Inc. (DRIV), noting its principal ownership amount was 152 million securities, worth $147 million. Additionally, he reported a new, 7.4 million-share stake in Sara Lee, valued at $159.2 million. The company, which is among Soros's top 10 holdings, plans to spin off its European coffee-and-tea unit into a new, standalone beverage company, whose shares will be listed in Amsterdam. Many investors that manage more than $100 million are required to file 13-Fs disclosures that list their holdings within 45 days of the end of a quarter. The first-quarter deadline was Tuesday. -By Brett Philbin, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2173; brett.philbin@dowjones.com

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