Ballmer-bashing fund manager ups Microsoft stake

Greenlight Capital increases its Microsoft holdings just three months after its leader, David Einhorn, suggests that the software giant dump its chief executive.

David Einhorn, the hedge-fund manager who called for Steve Ballmer's head three months ago, just increased his stake in Microsoft.

David Einhorn
David Einhorn Greenlight Capital

Einhorn's Greenlight Capital reported holding 14.8 million shares of Microsoft as of June 30, according to a regulatory filing dated yesterday. That's up from 9.1 million shares Greenlight held at the end of the previous reporting period, March 31. The Wall Street Journal first reported Greenlight's increased stake.

In May, Einhorn suggested that Ballmer step aside as chief executive of Microsoft, in part, for allowing competitors to jump ahead of the software giant in search, mobile-communications software, tablet computing, and social networking. While Einhorn remained positive about the company's potential, he complained that Ballmer was "stuck in the past," refusing to promote company products that compete with Windows.

"It's time for Microsoft's board to tell Steve Ballmer, 'All right, we see what you can do, let's give so-and-so a chance,'" Einhorn told an investment conference then. "His continued presence is the biggest overhang on Microsoft's stock."

Those concerns, though, didn't seem to prevent him from increasing Greenlight's Microsoft holdings. His displeasure in Ballmer's leadership was clearly offset by his belief that Microsoft shares are undervalued.

About the author

Jay Greene, a CNET senior writer, works from Seattle and focuses on investigations and analysis. He's a former Seattle bureau chief for BusinessWeek and author of the book "Design Is How It Works: How the Smartest Companies Turn Products into Icons" (Penguin/Portfolio).

 

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