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Atticus Hedge Fund Likes MasterCard

Hedge fund Atticus Management is shifting its attention to credit cards and airplanes.

The $12 billion fund led by Timothy Barakett disclosed Monday that it has acquired 5.1% equity stakes in both MasterCard (MA) and Mexican airport management company Grupo Aeroportuario (PAC), also known as Pacific Airport Group. On the basis of today's share prices, Atticus' stake in MasterCard is valued at $200 million, and its holding in Pacific Airport is worth $76 million.

Atticus, which manages six different funds, has made a strategy out of buying significant equity stakes in companies that either are in a hot sector, are ripe for a rebound or are potential acquisition targets. Atticus is up about 27% this year.

The hedge fund most recently was in the news because of its high-stakes gamble on global consolidation of stock exchanges. Prior to last week's announcement of the merger between the New York Stock Exchange (NYX) and Euronext, Atticus had been a significant equity holder in the NYSE, Euronext and Germany's Deutsche Borsche, which also made a bid for Euronext.

It's not clear from the regulatory filings when Atticus began acquiring shares of MasterCard and Grupo Aeroportuario. Both companies had splashy IPOs this year.

MasterCard, the big credit card association, raised $2.4 billion in its May 24 initial public offering. Shares of MasterCard, priced at $39, most recently traded at $49.92, up 28%.

Shares of Pacific Airport, which raised $1 billion in a February IPO, currently sell for $30.82. The stock, technically listed as an ADR in the U.S., is up 43% since its $21 offering price.

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