New Masters of the Art Universe (Wall Street Journal) In the morning of Oct. 2, hedge-fund manager Daniel Loeb sat down in his Park Avenue office—which he’d decorated with a photograph of a Marlboro Man by Richard Prince—and fired off a vitriolic activist-investor letter. Mr. Loeb, 52 years old, has a reputation for sending blistering critiques to companies he intends to overhaul, like Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO). This time around, he attacked the performance and management of Sothebys (NYSE:BID), calling the auction house “an Old Master painting in desperate need of restoration.” Halfway around the world in Hong Kong, Sotheby’s chief executive and chairman Bill Ruprecht—a 58-year-old former furniture maker and a lifer at the company—didn’t learn about the letter right away because he was asleep and didn’t hear his cellphone.
Jana Partners Presses Juniper Networks to Cut Costs and Make Other Changes (New York Times) The activist hedge fund Jana Partners has set its sights on Juniper Networks, Inc. (NYSE:JNPR), calling on the networking company to tighten its belt and give more money back to shareholders. Citing fresh opportunities with a new leader at the helm of Juniper, Jana told investors it took a large stake in the company, according to its year-end letter sent to investors on Thursday evening and reviewed by DealBook. The move is likely to bolster another campaign to change the company started by the hedge fund Elliott Management just one week ago. Elliott, run by the billionaire investor Paul Singer, wants Juniper to cut costs, streamline its product offerings and return money to shareholders.
The Famous Hedge Fund Manager Who Slammed Fortescue Has A New Strategy For Shorting Stocks On Buybacks (Business Insider Australia) Jim Chanos, who runs Kynikos Associates, has developed a new strategy for shorting stocks, the famed short-seller told the Wall Street Journal’s Dennis K. Berman. Chanos slammed Australian minter Fortescue at a conference in 2012, saying it would “materially” fall due to its exposure to the iron ore price and China. He signalled the company out as a “value trap” and said its management team, at the time, was “somewhat promotional.”
Shah Capital Management Buys 1.0 Mln Shares of UTStarcom Holdings Corp (UTSI) (Insider Monkey) Himanshu H. Shah's Shah Capital Management has reported acquiring a total of 1.0 million shares of UTStarcom Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:UTSI). Following the increase, Shah holds in aggregate a total of 7.54 million shares, which represent of 21.01% of the company's common stock. The new securities have been acquired in one deal, at a price of $2.54 apiece. According to the filing with the SEC, Shah acquired the shares under the terms of a purchase and sale agreement between UTStarcom Holdings Corp and Shah as buyers and Softbank America Inc as the seller.
Telstra Super linked to Madoff (Business Spectator) The Telstra Super fund invested in a hedge fund whose directors were linked to the Bernie Madoff scandal, The Australian Financial Review reports. According to the newspaper, Telstra Super invested in the York Capital Multi-Strategy Fund, operated by New York-based York Capital Management. Two directors of the fund were also on the board of a vehicle that directed savings to Madoff, a former stockbroker convicted of fraud and sentenced to 150 years in prison, Telstra Super was told in mid-2011, the newspaper reports.
Deal buzz at Davos (CNBC.com)