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Bodenholm and Westray reveal media stock shorts on changing viewers
LONDON (Reuters) - European hedge funds Bodenholm Capital and Westray Capital Management revealed they had taken short selling positions on some media companies, bets that their stock prices will fall, on the back of changing consumer habits.
Online services like Netflix and Amazon will continue to eat away at the business of traditional media companies, fund managers for both firms said at the Sohn Conference in London on Thursday.
Per Johansson of Bodenholm, which has assets under management of around $700 million, said that the fund has take a short position in the shares of German media company Prosiebensat 1.
He said viewers from younger age groups were turning away from traditional television to online and on-demand formats.
“We now spend our time in front of the TV in different ways,” Johansson said. Bodenholm declined to comment on the size of the short position in Prosiebensat.
A spokesman for Prosiebensat said it had a “proven growth strategy” that is driving diversification and digital transformation, and would be updating investors at a capital markets day next week.
Meanwhile, Westray founder and chief investment officer Selvan Masil revealed the fund had a short position in Britain’s Cineworld.
A spokeswoman for Cineworld declined to comment on Westray’s position.
“The core audience, people aged 15-34, are showing a decline in interest in cinema,” Masil said.
Westray, which has assets under management of $153 million, declined to comment on the size of the short position it had on Cineworld.
“We think this is explained by changes in consumer, particularly the fact that younger people are consuming increasing content online.”
Cineworld’s shares fell 16.7 percent on Wednesday after it said it planned to acquire U.S. peer Regal Entertainment Group for $3.6 billion.
Reporting by Maiya Keidan and Alasdair Pal; editing by Alexander Smith
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