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Friday, November 15, 2013

Soros Takes a Stake in Microsoft

By Geoffrey Rogow

Soros Fund Management LLC purchased a significant new stake in Microsoft Corp.MSFT -0.35% in the quarter that ended Sept. 30, as the technology giant continues to search for a new chief executive amid a series of broad company changes.

The hedge fund, founded by billionaire investor George Soros, held firm its stake in nutrition company Herbalife Ltd.HLF +1.86%, but lowered its stakes in J.C. Penney Co.JCP +0.23% and Google Inc.GOOG +0.27% The fund raised its stake in Chevron Corp.CVX +0.39% and purchased a new stake of 1.6 million shares in FedEx Corp.FDX +0.85%

Mr. Soros’s apparent push into Microsoft comes on the heels of CEO Steve Ballmer announcing his sudden retirement in late August from the firm where he had worked for more than three decades. Mr. Ballmer and company founder Bill Gates had built Microsoft into a technology giant, but the company has found its overall influence weakened by rivals such as AppleAAPL +1.45% and Google. As of Sept. 30, Mr. Soros

George Soros
owned 12.6 million shares of Microsoft.

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George Soros was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1930. His father was taken prisoner during World War I and eventually fled from captivity in Russia to reunite with his family in Budapest. Soros was thirteen years old when Hitler's Wehrmacht seized Hungary and began deporting the country's Jews to extermination camps. In 1946, as the Soviet Union was taking control of the country, Soros attended a conference in the West and defected. He emigrated in 1947 to England, supported himself by working as a railroad porter and a restaurant waiter, graduated in 1952 from the London School of Economics, and obtained an entry-level position with an investment bank.

In 1956, Soros immigrated to the United States, working as a trader and analyst until 1963. During that time, he developed his own theory of markets called 'reflexivity', which he has laid out in his recent books THE ALCHEMY OF FINANCE and THE CREDIT CRISIS OF 2008 AND WHAT IT MEANS. In 1967 he helped establish an offshore investment fund; and in 1973 he set up a private investment firm that eventually evolved into the Quantum Fund, one of the first hedge funds, through which he accumulated a vast fortune.