Michael Burry of ‘Big Short’ Fame Takes Stakes in Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts

Posted on: May 22, 2020, 11:41h. 

Last updated on: May 22, 2020, 12:10h.

Michael Burry, the hedge fund manager profiled in the hit movie The Big Short, doesn’t just short securities in the mortgage market. His Scion Asset Management owns long positions in various companies, including recently added stakes in Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) and Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN).

Michael Burry Takes Sands, Wynn Stakes
Investor Michael Burry is known for shorting mortgages, but he’s long Las Vegas Sands and Wynn. (Image: Bloomberg)

A new Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) confirms that Scion added new positions in LVS and Wynn in the first quarter. The hedge fund’s exposure to the two gaming equities is in the form of call options – contracts designed to appreciate in value as the underlying security does the same.

The stake in the Venetian operator was valued at $2.90 million at the end of the first quarter, while Scion’s Wynn position was worth $463,000, according to the SEC filing. The Wynn calls are the smallest of the hedge fund’s 14 equity investments as of March 31.

Burry Being Vocal

Burry, who was portrayed by Christian Bale in the 2015 movie, is active on Twitter, and while he hasn’t “talked his book” on LVS or Wynn in recent days, he’s not shying away from levying coronavirus shutdown criticism at some governors.

In a tweet posted yesterday, the physician-turned-investor reacted to the weekly jobless claims report, which have been brutal over the past couple of months.

4.4 million people filed INITIAL #joblessclaims last week, not an ‘adjusted’ 2.4MM. We have #crossedtherubicon #Workingclass taking more #bodyblows; Not #COVID but inhumane #shutdownpolitics NOT based in science @GovWhitmer @AndyBeshearKY @GavinNewsom,” said the investor.

Those are the Twitter handles of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom – all Democrats. Burry’s Scion is based in Northern California.

In another tweet, Burry admonished the governors of California, Illinois, and New York – all Democrats – for the deteriorating fiscal positions of their states, while lauding Florida, a state with significantly lower taxes and a Republican governor, for being financially sound.

Over the past week, Burry consistently took to task on Newsom, Whitmer, and New York Gov. Andrew Gov. Andrew Cuomo, while lauding their Republican counterparts in Florida and Texas.

Interesting Tidbits

News of Scion’s positions in LVS and Wynn arrived on the same day as a separate SEC filing indicating that Craig Billings, chief financial officer of the Encore operator, sold about $500,000 worth of stock in that operator.

Perhaps surprisingly when considering his long exposure to two gaming companies, Burry’s Twitter feed features no recent admonishment of Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, who is under fire for gaming property closures that lasted more than two months.

In another tweet, however, the investor implied Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is a “future dictator.” Brown and Sisolak are also Democrats.

Scion’s equity portfolios are highly levered to the US economy rebounding after COVID-19 is quashed, as eight of the firm’s 14 positions, including LVS and Wynn, are classified as consumer discretionary names.