Fidelity fund managers sold 1.7 million shares of Facebook in June

Fidelity Contrafund manager Will Danoff was still a believer in Facebook Inc. in June, even after its rocky IPO. His colleague Ramin Arani, not so much.

Nineteen Fidelity Investments fund managers sold 1.7 million Facebook shares in June, while 16 funds added 2.8 million more shares to their holdings, according to data provided by Morningstar Inc., a Chicago fund-tracking firm.

Fidelity was an early holder of the social networking company’s shares, with Danoff’s Contrafund investing in private shares before Facebook’s initial public offering May 18. Facebook shares have fallen from their $38 IPO price to $20.88 Wednesday. But they gained 5 percent in June, rebounding from the initial disappointment after the much-hyped offering.


Danoff bought 264,000 more Facebook shares in June, adding up to a 13.7 million-share stash, worth $416 million at the end of June. But most of the buying in Facebook at the Boston mutual fund giant in June was by index funds that own broad baskets of Nasdaq stocks.

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Facebook sellers included Fidelity’s Puritan Fund, comanaged by Arani; Puritan sold 623,800 shares in June, or about one-quarter of its holdings in the stock. Fidelity Disciplined Equity sold 444,800 shares, and the well known Fidelity Magellan fund sold 155,700 shares.

Sophie Launay, a spokeswoman for Fidelity, said the firm’s portfolio managers do not move in lock step. “The portfolio managers here make decisions every day,’’ she said. “Especially in this period of market volatility, you want managers who act on what is the best interests of the shareholders.”

The Wall Street Journal first reported the Morningstar data.

Believers in the stock were not immediately rewarded in July. Shares continued their plunge through last month and have hit new lows since Facebook posted second-quarter earnings last week that disappointed investors. The Palo Alto, Calif., company reported a 32 percent jump in revenue but a loss of $157 million, primarily as a result of accounting for employee stock compensation in the IPO.


Fidelity held nearly $1 billion worth of Facebook at the end of June, according to Morningstar. While the firm was a net buyer of the stock in June, 10 of the firm’s fund managers held steady, neither buying nor selling shares.

At other mutual fund firms, larger buyers of the stock since the IPO include MainStay Large Cap Growth (part of New York Life Investment Management); Harbor Capital Appreciation, part of the Harbor Funds in Chicago; and some of the Janus funds in Denver.

Beth Healy can be reached at