NEW YORK (Reuters) – Facebook Inc’s (FB.O) losses are becoming other companies’ gains.
Concerns about the social media giant’s declining profit margins and battered reputation have prompted 93 U.S. mutual funds to completely sell out of their positions in the company so far this year, exacerbating a roughly 35 percent decline in Facebook’s share price from its highs, according to Refinitiv’s Lipper research service.
The selling by fund firms including Fidelity Investments, The Hartford and Putnam Investments combined for a total of nearly 12 million shares, and came amid similar moves to liquidate positions in the company by prominent growth-focused hedge funds. Jana Partners and Third Point LLC, for instance, together sold nearly 3.7 million Facebook shares in the third quarter, according to securities filings.
Funds that have dumped Facebook, whose shares helped lead the broad U.S. market higher the last two years, are now favoring investments ranging from payments companies like Visa Inc (V.N) and Worldpay Inc (WP.N) to consumer companies including PepsiCo Inc (PEP.O) and Chef’s Warehouse Inc (CHEF.O) because they expect the troubles at the social media company to continue as it leaves its era of rapid growth behind.
Facebook was rocked by disclosures earlier this year that the personal information of up to 87 million users may have been improperly shares with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
“The revelations in the first quarter of 2018 about data privacy issues and the growing global concerns about data security and the potential for increased regulation made it challenging to handicap the required investments to remedy some of these issues,