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George Soros buys Facebook stake; flees bank stocks

August 14, 2012: 7:13 PM ET

George Soros' hedge fund purchased a stake in Facebook during the second quarter.

Even billionaire George Soros caught Facebook (FB) fever this spring.

The hedge fund manager purchased 341,000 shares of the social media company during the second quarter, according to SEC filings.

Hedge fund managers aren't forced to specify when during a quarter they purchased stakes in various firms. Still, it's safe to say that the investor who infamously made $1 billion shorting the British pound is under water on his Facebook bet.

Related: Warren Buffett exits Intel

Facebook finished the second quarter, which ended June 30, at $30 a share. That means Soros has lost at least $3 million since then, assuming he holds the same number of shares. Facebook closed Tuesday at just over $20 a share.

Clearly, the damage would be worse if he purchased shares at the $38 IPO price. But even with a loss, it's not enough to move the needle down too much within Soros' $6.9 billion in stock holdings.

Investors didn't take much solace from the disclosure of his investment. Facebook's shares were up less than 1% in after-hours trading.

Soros' investments were revealed in a 13F filing. These documents are released by the SEC 45 days after the close of a quarter and only show a fund's stock positions, not its bond holdings or short positions in stocks.

Soros cashed out of most of his financial holdings during the second quarter. He sold all his shares of large banks, including Goldman Sachs (GS), Citigroup (C), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC), as well as smaller banks like Regions Financial (RF) and Fifth Third Bank (FITB). He did hang onto his stake in SunTrust Banks (STI).

Related: Wells Fargo in $6.5M SEC settlement

Activist investor Dan Loeb, who pushed successfully for changes at Yahoo (YHOO), also exited most bank stocks, including Goldman Sachs, Capital One and Wells Fargo, but kept his stake in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

Bill Ackman, head of the hedge fund Pershing Square, cut his stake in Citigroup by more than half and now owns 11 million shares. Ackman, who has been pushing for changes at JCPenney (JCP), exited Kraft (KFT) and purchased a large stake in Procter & Gamble (PG).

Both David Einhorn, more watched for his prescient bets against stocks like Lehman Brothers and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR), and Loeb revealed that their funds made new large bets on health insurance firms. Einhorn's Greenlight Capital and Loeb's Third Point both purchased new stakes in Aetna (AET), Cigna (CI), Humana (HUM) and UnitedHealth Group (UNH).

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Maureen Farrell
Maureen Farrell
Staff writer, CNNMoney

Maureen Farrell is a staff writer at CNNMoney and covers Wall Street, banking, mergers and the stock and bond markets. Prior to joining CNNMoney, she covered venture capital and entrepreneurs for Forbes, and mergers and bankruptcy for Mergermarket and Debtwire, both divisions of the Financial Times.

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