Goldman Sachs Group Inc. liquidated $10.5 billion worth of stocks in block trades on Friday, part of an extraordinary spree of selling that erased $35 billion from the values of bellwether stocks ranging from Chinese technology giants to U.S. media conglomerates.
The Wall Street bank sold $6.6 billion worth of shares of Baidu Inc., Tencent Music Entertainment Group and Vipshop Holdings Ltd. before the market opened in the U.S, according to an email to clients seen by Bloomberg News.
That move was followed by the sale of $3.9 billion of shares in ViacomCBS Inc., Discovery Inc., Farfetch Ltd., iQiyi Inc. and GSX Techedu Inc., the email said.
More of the unregistered stock offerings were said to be managed by Morgan Stanley, according to people familiar with the matter, on behalf of one or more undisclosed shareholders. Some of the trades exceeded $1 billion in individual companies, calculations based on Bloomberg data show.
Wall Street is now collectively speculating on the identity of the mysterious seller or sellers. The liquidation triggered price swings for every stock involved in the high-volume transactions, rattling traders and prompting talk that a hedge fund or family office was in trouble and being forced to sell.
Several major investment banks with ties to hedge fund Archegos Capital Management LLC liquidated holdings, contributing to the slump in share prices of ViacomCBS and Discovery, IPO Edge reported, citing people it didn’t identify. CNBC reported forced sales by Archegos were probably related to margin calls on heavily leveraged positions. Archegos is controlled by former Julian Robertson protege and Tiger Management analyst Bill Hwang.
Maeve DuVally, a Goldman Sachs spokeswoman, declined to comment. A spokesperson for Morgan Stanley declined to comment. A person reached at Archegos’s New York office on Friday declined to comment. An email sent to Hwang seeking comment wasn’t returned.
In block trades, large volumes of securities are privately negotiated between parties, usually outside of open market.
Friday’s selloff dragged companies including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and NetEase Inc. lower. The peers later recovered after traders said word of the offerings lessened fears that a broader trade was unfolding throughout the sector.
That late rebound pushed up an index of companies engaged in internet-related businesses in China and the U.S., with the measure halting a three-day selloff while still notching a slide of about 6.5% for the week.
Chinese stocks have been under pressure after a warning from the Securities and Exchange Commission that it’s taking steps to force accounting firms to let U.S. regulators review the financial audits of overseas companies — the penalty for non-compliance being ejection from exchanges. In addition to that, Bloomberg News reported that China’s government has proposed forming a joint venture with local technology giants that would oversee the lucrative data they collect.