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ViacomCBS, Discovery plunge due in part to forced liquidation of Archegos Capital positions


The ViacomCBS logo is displayed on the Nasdaq MarketSite to celebrate the company’s merger, in New York, December 5, 2019.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Some of the severe selling pressure in select U.S. media stocks and Chinese internet ADRs on Friday was due to the forced liquidation of positions held by the multibillion dollar family office, Archegos Capital Management, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.

Archegos Capital was founded by the former Tiger Management equity analyst, Bill Hwang.

Media stocks ViacomCBS and Discovery, which have seen massive gains this year, came under unusually heavy selling pressure late this week and were said to be at least two of the stocks in question, along with the Chinese internet names Baidu, Tencent, Vipshop and several others.

ViacomCBS and Discovery closed down more than 27% on Friday, with Viacom off more than 50% for the week while Discovery slid 45%. The companies have been heavily shorted amid investor skepticism about their long-term prospects in a crowded media landscape.

For the week, Baidu was down more than 18%, Tencent more than 33% and Vipshop more than 31%.

CNBC reached out to Archegos Capital, but calls and emails were not returned. The source said the forced sales were likely related to margin calls due to heavily leveraged positions.

CNBC has also learned that Teng Yue Partners, an Asia-focused fund run by another former Tiger Management analyst, Tao Li, was negatively impacted by drawdowns in several of its key holdings. Though the fund was said to be down in March, it was still positive YTD, according to the source.

CNBC has also reached out to Teng Yue.

— CNBC’s Leslie Picker contributed to this report.

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