Virgin Media’s market price has increased almost 30% year to date, trading at $47.63 per share on Monday, placing it at Third Point’s second “top winner” of the month, in which his Offshore Fund returned 1.2%, compared to 1.2% for the S&P. Third Point was up 6% for the year through the end of February, also trailing the S&P’s 6.6%.
Created in 2006 through the merger of Virgin Mobile UK, Virgin Media Inc. is the first UK company to offer television, Internet, mobile phone and fixed-line telephone services. It competes with companies such as Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) and BT Group PLC (NYSE:BT).
The company’s price appreciated almost 18% on Feb. 5 when it announced that it would be acquired by Liberty Global (LBTYA) for $23.3 billion in cash and stock and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2013. Liberty Media owns stakes in numerous subsidiaries, like SiriusXM (SIRI), Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) and Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX).
Liberty initiated several other changes recently, spinning off its Starz (STRZA) video subscription subsidiary in January, changed its name to Liberty Media Corporation and increased its ownership of Live Nation (LYV) to 27%.
Several other Gurus may have caught wind of the impending deal or spotted Virgin as an attractive acquisition in the fourth quarter. The Gurus that started new positions in the company in the fourth quarter were John Griffin, Andreas Halvorsen, George Soros and Bruce Kovner. It is a long-standing holding of Manning & Napier, the Guru with the greatest stake at 6.49% of the company’s shares, initiated in 2010 when the price was $17 per share on average.
Loeb has returned an annualized 17.8% to investors since the founding of his firm, beating the S&P’s 6.3% return. See his stock holdings here. Also check out Loeb’s undervalued stocks, top growth companies and high yield stocks.