BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Thomas Steyer, the billionaire environmentalist and founder of hedge fund Farallon Capital Management, has made a big bet on a rebound in the economy by buying energy and industrial stocks, including El Paso (EP) and Goodrich (GR) .

Steyer founded Farallon Capital in 1986 and has served as the fund's managing partner. Based in San Francisco, Farallon has about $22 billion in assets and uses numerous strategies ranging from credit to value to merger-arbitrage investments. The hedge fund has a disciplined approach to preserve capital, focusing on achieving risk-adjusted returns.

Thomas Steyer of Farallon Capital Management.

The latest merger-arbitrage investment for Steyer is El Paso, which received a $21 billion buyout offer from

Kinder Morgan

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in October. Farallon bought more than 14.5 million shares of El Paso, which carried a market value of nearly $390 million as of Dec. 31. That new position alone became the third largest of Steyer's disclosed holdings.

Hedge funds that manage more than $100 million are required to disclose their equity holdings, options and convertible debt on a Form 13F filed to the

Securities and Exchange Commission

within 45 days of the end of a quarter. Funds aren't required to report short positions betting on declines. Farallon Capital ended the third quarter with 61 reported holdings with a market value of $4 billion.

Farallon's other new buys in the most recent quarter were

Pharmasset

(VRUS)

,

Check Point Software

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,

Qualcomm

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and

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

. In total, the hedge fund reported 12 new holdings for the fourth quarter.

Steyer also increased his stake in 16 companies, including big buys in large-cap companies like aerospace company Goodrich. Farallon more than doubled its stake in the company during the quarter, adding 2.2 million shares. Other position increases included

Motorola Mobility

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,

News Corp.

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,

Oracle

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and

eBay

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.

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Steyer sold completely out of stakes in 17 companies, including

Home Depot

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,

Viacom

(VIA.B)

and

Charles Schwab

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Farallon also cut stakes in 21 stocks in the fourth quarter, including several large-cap names like

Google

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,

Wells Fargo

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,

Visa

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,

Comcast

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and

Target

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.

During the third quarter, Steyer had made a wager on Motorola and Google, which are set to merge after U.S. and European regulators gave clearance. Google offered $12.5 billion to acquire Motorola in August.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston

.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here:

Robert Holmes

.

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