Hedge Fund News: Jeffrey Smith, Julian Robertson & David Abrams

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Starboard Value’s Latest Demand Is a Throwback to the ‘80s (InstitutionalInvestorsAlpha) When Jeffrey Smith of New York–based hedge fund firm Starboard Value detailed his case for significantly boosting the value of packaging company MeadWestvaco Corp. (NYSE:MWV), he identified several opportunities for management and the board. But one of those items made me sit up and take notice. In a 12-page letter sent to MeadWestvaco chairman and chief executive John Luke, the aggressive activist investor, whose firm owns 5.6 percent of the stock, said he thinks the combined value of MeadWestvaco’s assets far exceeds its current share price, and that this value is undermined by excessive corporate overhead and its conglomerate structure. Among the tactics Smith proposes are some pretty typical items in an activist’s…

Jeff Smith

Chicago Financial Communities raise over $670K for local charities at Hedge Funds Care Gala (HedgeCo) On May 8, the Midwest financial community gathered at the 12th Annual Midwest “Open Your Heart to the Children” Benefit organized by Hedge Funds Care/Help For Children (HFC). The event raised over $670,000, which will be distributed to local Midwest charities that work to prevent and treat child abuse through HFC’s rigorous granting process, which is widely recognized as the best in the field. A highlight of the Chicago social calendar, the Benefit brings together the hedge fund, proprietary trading, private equity, and venture capital communities to provide direct support for local Chicago charities that prevent and treat child abuse. Edward Haravon of Spot Trading and Benji Wolken of Ernst & Young LLP are this year’s Midwest Committee of Hearts Co-Chairs.

Morgan Stanley AIP Raises $500M For HF Secondaries Fund (Finalternatives) Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) Alternative Investment Partners has secured $500 million in commitments for a new fund which seeks to capitalize on medium-term opportunities in the hedge fund space. The AIP Strategic Opportunities Fund I, a closed-end investment fund, will focus on hedge fund secondaries, co-investments and other opportunistic strategies. Mark van der Zwan and Jarrod Quigley, managing directors, are SOF I’s primary portfolio managers. “We are pleased that we have achieved our fundraising goal for SOF I,” said Mustafa Jama, chief investment officer of the $20 billion Morgan Stanley AIP hedge fund group, in a statement.

That Time A Super Rich Hedge Fund Manager Wrestled His Middle-Class Brother Over A $50 Timex Watch (BusinessInsider) Writer Eric Spitznagel, the brother of hedge fund manager Mark Spitznagel, had a fascinating essay in the New York Times Magazine this weekend about what it’s like being middle class and having an ultra-wealthy brother. Mark Spitznagel, founder of hedge fund Universa Investments, is known for his negative predictions about the market. He made a killing betting things would go south in 2008. In the essay, Eric shared an anecdote about how he was wearing their late-father’s $50 Timex stainless-steel Timex watch and how Mark tried to buy it off him. Eric refused to sell the watch no matter what price was offered. Instead, the middle-aged men ended up wrestling for the sentimental timepiece.

In Boston, Secretive Hedge-Fund Billionaire Stays in Shadows (WSJ) As The Wall Street Journal reported today, one ultra-secretive hedge-fund manager has managed to stay hidden despite crossing into the billionaire’s club and earning untold more for his wealthy investors in recent years. David Abrams, 53, would be near the top of every list of highly-paid hedge-fund managers—if anyone had known his name, until now. The veteran of Seth Klarman’s Baupost Group has built an almost $8 billion firm with virtually no external marketing, nor public speaking. Between 2009 and 2013, one of Abrams’ main funds returned 19% on an annualized basis, after fees—a performance better than 97% of all America’s hedge-fund managers, and nearly unprecedented for a fund of its size, according to data provider HedgeFund Intelligence.

DMS Offshore Investment Services wins 2014 Hedgeweek US Award (HedgeWeek) DMS was awarded “Best Offshore Regulatory Advisory Firm” in the 2014 Hedgeweek US Awards at a ceremony held in New York City on 29 May. DMS received a similar honour on 28 February in London, when it was named Best Offshore Regulatory Advisory Firm in Hedgeweek’s Global 2014 awards. For both awards, DMS was selected through a poll of the magazine’s readers and the firm had no part in soliciting the award. More than 1,300 votes were cast by Hedgeweek’s US-based readers for this latest award, the highest number to do so, Hedgeweek noted.

Trader buys TBT (CNBC)

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