How Warren Buffett Already Made $1 Billion from $IBM (InsiderMonkey)
Board Rules Florida Pension Chief had No Conflict of Interest (MiamiHerald)
State pension chief Ash Williams did not have a conflict of interest when he approved a $125 million investment in a hedge fund managed by a private sector colleague, an advisory panel for the State Board of Administration said Monday. Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater asked the SBA’s investment advisory council and audit committee to review the agency’s 2010 investment of pension money in a hedge fund called Starboard Value and Opportunity, a spin-off of Ramius LLC. At issue was the relationship between Williams and Ramius president Thomas Strauss. Strauss, who had been a client of Williams’ former private sector employer, Fir Tree Partners, asked Williams in personal e-mails to consider investing state pension dollars in his fund. But that alone did not constitute a conflict, council members said.
David Tepper’s Appaloosa Partners Bought 8.64% Stake in MF Global After Its Bankruptcy (InsiderMonkey)
David Tepper’s Appaloosa Partners disclosed on November 14th that the firm took 8.64% passive stake in MF Global Holdings Ltd. (MF). The SEC filing shows Appaloosa Partners passed the 5% stake threshold on November 2nd, two days after MF Global filed for the Chapter 11 protection. This might be a distressed investment made by Appaloosa Partners, which has built a brand-new 14.25 million shares position in MF by now. On October 25th MF Global reported $191.6 million quarterly loss after the company lost $6 billion in European sovereign debt. Later Moody’s downgraded the company’s long-term bond to junk, and the company filed for bankruptcy on October 31th.
Studio Buyout Of Elliott Stalls (FINAlternatives)
Relativity Media isn’t rid of Elliott Management just yet. The Hollywood film studio has been looking to buy out its erstwhile hedge fund backer for the entire second half of the year. But talks with a consortium of investors. led by JPMorgan Chase, have stalled just in time for Relativity’s biggest moment: the release of its Immortals. Elliott, for its part, has said it is not interested in selling its 49% stake in Relativity; the hedge fund has invested more than $1 billion in the studio. But Relativity reportedly has an option to buy Elliott out. Some sources close to the talks say they are still ongoing, Variety reports.
Varus Up Over 20% After October Rise (FINAlternatives)
Varus Capital Management’s sizzling 2011 continued into the fourth quarter with a positive October leaving both of its Varus Fund share classes above 20% returns for the year. While Varus, like most hedge funds, failed to capture all of October’s equity market upside—the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose almost 11% on the month—unlike most hedge funds, it didn’t need to. Varus’ dollar share class is up 27.5% on the year after adding 2.47% in October, while its euro share class is up 20.1% year-to-date following October’s 1.46% return.
Skowron Wasn’t Aware He Committed Crimes, Wife Tells U.S. Judge (Businessweek)
Ex-FrontPoint Partners LLC hedge fund manager Joseph F. “Chip” Skowron’s wife asked a judge to sentence him leniently for insider trading, saying he didn’t realize he’d done anything wrong that could send him to prison. Skowron, a physician from Greenwich, Connecticut, pleaded guilty in August to conspiring to commit securities fraud and obstructing a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation probe for trading on inside information about Human Genome Science Inc. and then lying to investigators. He’s scheduled to be sentenced November 18.
Asia’s Small Hedge Funds Woo Millionaires (Bloomberg)
Hedge funds with assets of less than $100 million in the Asia Pacific region are turning to millionaires and family offices for investments as institutions favor funds with more than that amount and proven track records. E Fund Management Co., which in April started China’s first officially registered hedge fund, raised $100 million from the nation’s rich. Singapore-based Iridium Asset Management started trading last year with money from the founder’s family, while Regal Funds Management Pty Ltd.’s eight-month-old quantitative fund is aiming to tap family offices, which make up 40 percent of the Australian manager’s flagship market-neutral strategy.