A leading US analyst believes an unknown investor is quietly buying up shares in Netflix as it looks to acquire the streaming giant.
Don Bilson, head of event-driven research at Gordon Haskett, has previously uncovered a number of under-the-radar stock acquisitions, including Carl Icahn’s purchase of HP stock.
Bilson claims Nomura Holdings has acquired about 1.89 million shares of Netflix during the third quarter and may have done so on behalf of an activist investor. Bilson realised Nomura helped Icahn with his HP shares.
He told CNBC he isn’t sure exactly who the activist investor might be, but he has two top suspects, the first of which is Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital, who mentioned recently he is building a new position in the company.
“It’s the pattern. This fits the model for building top-notch stock holdings that have undergone a price dislocation. It’s not necessarily an activist play. It’s buying the best,” Bilson told CNBC. “What he has done a lot of recently is to not take swings at things that are real hairy or dangerous.”
The other possibility is Icahn, who has previously bought and sold Netflix shares for a big profit. “He made a bazillion dollars in this thing. He’s been there,” said Bilson.
According to CNBC, a spokesperson for Pershing said they don’t comment on speculation of that kind, and Icahn wasn’t available for comment.