Viacom, Inc. (VIAB): Insiders Aren’t Crazy About It But Hedge Funds Love It

Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB)’s most famous cartoon, SpongeBob SquarePants, will be heading to Basel Castle to feature in the international art show, Art Basel Miami. Since the launch in 1999, the animated series has a huge fan following – 90 million fans on Facebook, and is seen in more than 170 countries. The series is also translated in 35 languages and has averaged 100 million viewers every quarter. This goes to show the huge popularity of some of Viacom, Inc.’s content and the reach of the company. Viacom, Inc. has also acquired a 51-percent stake in MTV Italia Srl in September 2013.

Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB)

How are hedge funds trading Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB)?

No wonder hedge funds are upbeat about the company. The interest is evident as VIAB is featured in 53 hedge-fund portfolios at the end of September, up from 47 for the previous quarter. The rise of 13 percent shows the bullish trend hedge funds have for Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB).

According to hedge-fund intelligence website Insider Monkey, Yacktman Asset Management, managed by Donald Yacktman, holds the biggest position in Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB). Yacktman Asset Management has a $792-million position in the stock, comprising 3.5 percent of its 13F portfolio. The second-most bullish hedge-fund manager isWarren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, holding a $635.8-million position; the fund has 0.7 percent of its portfolio invested in the stock. Some other peers with similar optimism contain Mario Gabelli’s GAMCO Investors, David Cohen and Harold Levy’s Iridian Asset Management and Murray Stahl’s Horizon Asset Management.

With a general bullishness among the heavyweights, key hedge funds have been driving this bullishness. Scopus Asset Management, managed by Alexander Mitchell, established the largest call position in Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB). Scopus Asset Management had $146.3 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. John Wu’s Sureview Capital also made a $41.8-million investment in the stock during the quarter. The other funds with new positions in the stock are Paul Hudson’s Glade Brook Capital Partners, Peter Muller’s PDT Partners, and Millennium Management Subsidiary’s Green Arrow Capital Management.

What do insiders think about Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB)?

Insider trading activity analyzed over the last six months shows that Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB) has seen zero unique insider buys and zero insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s also take a look at hedge-fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB). These stocks are DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH), Liberty Global Inc. (NASDAQ:LBTYA), Discovery Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:DISCA), Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC), and DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV). These groups of stocks are in the cable television systems industry and their market caps match VIAB’s market cap.

Company Name # of Hedge Funds # of Insiders Buying # of Insiders Selling
DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH) 66 0 12
Liberty Global Inc. (NASDAQ:LBTYA) 81 0 0
Discovery Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:DISCA) 20 1 5
Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC) 73 0 7
DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV) 45 0 3

Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB) fares behind some of its peers with Liberty Global Inc. (NASDAQ:LBTYA) being the most-favored company in the peer group. Eighty-one fund managers have invested in the company against 53 investing in Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB). Insiders also seem to favor DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH).


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