One mystery in a dramatic year on Wall Street has been the identity of a trader whose persistent purchases have sent shares in ViacomCBS Inc., Discovery Inc. and a handful of other companies surging even when the broader market was down.
People familiar with the transactions say the answer is former Tiger Asia manager Bill Hwang. Late last week Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG swiftly unloaded large blocks of shares in those companies and others, part of the liquidation of positions at Mr. Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management.
The sales approached $30 billion in value, some of the people said, and fueled a 27% plunge Friday in shares of ViacomCBS—an unusually large decline in a widely held, large-capitalization stock on a day with no significant company specific news. Billions of market value in other companies were wiped out as the sales continued, surprising market participants who called the size and speed of these stock sales unprecedented.
The liquidations appear to have left Archegos, which managed an estimated $10 billion of personal wealth for Mr. Hwang and his family, under extreme pressure following heavy losses. People close to the stock sales said that the bulk of the selling has been completed.
Class A shares of Discovery dropped $15.85, or 27%, to $41.90 on Friday, the largest percentage decrease since September 2008. And a punishing dayslong selloff for ViacomCBS continued, as the shares dropped $18.12, or 27%, the largest percentage decrease on record, according to Dow Jones Market Data going back to 1990.