By Juliet Chung and Maureen Farrell
One mystery in a dramatic year on Wall Street has been the
identity of a trader whose persistent purchases have sent shares in
ViacomCBS Inc., Discovery Inc. and a handful of other companies
surging even when the broader market was down.
People familiar with the transactions say the answer is former
Tiger Asia manager Bill Hwang. Late last week Morgan Stanley,
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG swiftly unloaded
large blocks of shares in those companies and others, part of the
liquidation of positions at Mr. Hwang's Archegos Capital
The sales approached $30 billion in value, some of the people
said, and fueled a 27% plunge Friday in shares of ViacomCBS -- an
unusually large decline in a widely held, large-capitalization
stock on a day with no significant company specific news. Billions
of market value in other companies were wiped out as the sales
continued, surprising market participants who called the size and
speed of these stock sales unprecedented.
The liquidations appear to have left Archegos, which managed an
estimated $10 billion of personal wealth for Mr. Hwang and his
family, under extreme pressure following heavy losses. People close
to the stock sales said that the bulk of the selling has been
Class A shares of Discovery dropped $15.85, or 27%, to $41.90 on
Friday, the largest percentage decrease since September 2008. And a
punishing dayslong selloff for ViacomCBS continued, as the shares
dropped $18.12, or 27%, the largest percentage decrease on record,
according to Dow Jones Market Data going back to 1990.
Shares of a U.S.-listed Chinese entertainment company, IQIYI
Inc., also sold in block trades Friday as part of the unwinding,
fell 13% to $17.43. Discovery released a statement in response to
the selloff on Friday reaffirming its outlook to Wall Street.
The losses mark the latest public setback for the publicity-shy
Mr. Hwang, who is best known for his prior firm, Tiger Asia
Management LLC, in 2012 pleading guilty to a criminal fraud charge.
Tiger Asia also agreed to pay $44 million to settle civil
allegations by U.S. securities regulators that it engaged in
insider trading of Chinese bank stocks.
Mr. Hwang and Archegos's co-chief executive, Andy Mills, didn't
respond to requests for comment.
According to people familiar with the fund, the highly levered
Archegos took big, concentrated positions in companies and held
some positions via swaps. Those are contracts brokered by Wall
Street banks that allow a user to take on the profits and losses of
a portfolio of stocks or other assets in exchange for a fee.
The use of swaps allowed Mr. Hwang to maintain his anonymity,
even as Archegos was estimated to have had exposure to the
economics of more than 10% of multiple companies' shares. Investors
holding more than 10% of a company's securities are deemed to be
company insiders and are subject to additional regulations around
disclosures and profits.
Stock blocks sold Friday amounted to 10% or more of outstanding
shares in companies including online luxury retailer Farfetch Ltd.
and New York-listed Chinese tutoring company GSX Techedu Inc.
The episode reignites debate over whether the use of swaps
presents a market vulnerability.
The dynamics are reminiscent of the market upheaval in late
January, when meteoric surges in GameStop Corp. and other companies
popular with individual investors upended hedge funds' short bets
against the companies. Here, though, a major actor in supporting
companies' share prices appears to have been undone by his
continuing to add to leveraged bets as markets soared. The strategy
fell apart when some of those bets started to reverse on him.
Mr. Hwang's strategy began backfiring in recent weeks, as the
stock price of companies in which Archegos had significant
exposure, including China internet search giant Baidu Inc. and
Farfetch, began to sell off. Baidu's stock price rose sharply in
February, but by mid-March its shares had dropped more than 20%
from its highs.
Farfetch's stock followed a similar trajectory, dropping more
than 15% off its February highs by March.
The announcement of additional financing by ViacomCBS early last
week put further stress on Archegos, said people familiar with the
matter, with news of the deal sparking a slide in the shares and
adding to Archegos's mounting losses. The fund by that time had
started selling some of its position in ViacomCBS to try to offset
losses, adding to pressure on the stock.
ViacomCBS shares had surged 160% since the start of the year
through March 22, with the launch earlier this month of its new
Paramount+ streaming service contributing to gains. Discovery also
recently launched a streaming service, which analysts said
buttressed its stock price.
Still, ViacomCBS's stock at times rose even as the broader
market fell the week of March 15, leading some traders to speculate
that a ViacomCBS investor was propping up its price and trying to
squeeze short sellers. In a short squeeze, short sellers are forced
to buy back shares to close out their losing bets, pushing prices
sharply higher in the process.
Similarly, GSX's resilient stock price, despite heavy attacks
from activist short sellers and an investigation by the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission, had perplexed hedge funds
shorting the stock. Goldman and Morgan Stanley on Friday sold a
total of nearly 33 million shares of GSX in block trades, traders
Multiple banks including Goldman, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche,
Credit Suisse Group AG, and UBS Group AG served as prime brokers to
Archegos, meaning they processed its trades and lent it cash and
Goldman and Morgan Stanley on Thursday and Friday worked with
Archegos to sell some of its stock to help it post more collateral.
As part of that process, the banks executed block trades of stocks,
including in Tencent Music Entertainment Group, Baidu and IQIYI.
That wave of selling didn't give the fund enough assets to post
By Friday morning, many of the banks decided to seize the stock
Archegos had already posted as collateral and sell it to cover
potential losses, some of the people said. Some of the banks were
so concerned about their potential losses that rather than sell in
an organized fashion, they chose to sell as quickly as
Goldman Sachs told some hedge funds on Friday that they were
selling large blocks of stocks as a result of the involuntary
deleveraging of a fund, investors said. The bank's traders said
they would give priority to customers who could buy as much stock
as possible or several blocks of stock in different companies.
Morgan Stanley similarly marketed a block of stocks in multiple
companies Friday, saying buyers couldn't bid on individual
companies in the basket, said investors.
In some instances, Goldman and Morgan Stanley sold slugs of
stock in the same company at different times, leaving investors who
bought in the earlier trade upset as prices fell further.
Goldman sold 100 million shares of Tencent Music Friday morning
in a sale amounting to $1.8 billion; Morgan Stanley followed up
with a sale of 36 million Tencent Music shares later in the day for
about $600 million, traders said.
Mr. Hwang was one of a select club of analysts trained by
hedge-fund industry pioneer Julian Robertson, many of whom went on
to become billionaires. He founded Tiger Asia Management LLC in
2001 with support from Mr. Robertson. Tiger Asia was based in New
York and went on to become one of the biggest Asia-focused hedge
funds, running more than $5 billion at its peak. In 2008, it was
one of a swath of funds that suffered losses related to the soaring
share price of Germany's Volkswagen AG.
Mr. Hwang turned Tiger Asia into his family office and renamed
it Archegos, according to its website. Archegos describes itself as
focused on public stocks in the U.S., China, Japan, Korea and
Gunjan Banerji, Benjamin Mullin and Jim Oberman contributed to
Write to Juliet Chung at email@example.com and Maureen
Farrell at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 28, 2021 19:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Deutsche Bank (XE:DBK)
Historical Stock Chart
Von Nov 2021 bis Dez 2021
Deutsche Bank (XE:DBK)
Historical Stock Chart
Von Dez 2020 bis Dez 2021