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Hedge Fund News: Edward Lampert, Bill Ackman, Nelson Peltz

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Sears Cuts 115 Corporate Jobs as It Works to Reduce Expenses (Bloomberg)
Sears Holdings Corp., the retailer run by hedge fund manager Edward Lampert, eliminated about 115 corporate jobs to cut costs after three years of losses. Approximately 100 jobs were cut at the retailer’s headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, and 15 positions were eliminated elsewhere, Howard Riefs, a spokesman, said today in an e-mail. Lampert, the retailer’s chairman and chief executive officer as well as its largest shareholder, has been shutting stores and getting rid of assets such as the Lands’ End clothing business while trying to boost sales to rewards program members. Sears has continued to struggle, posting $5.44 billion in net losses in the past three years and $1.52 billion in the first three quarters of the current fiscal year.


Bill Ackman on Receiving End of Hedge Fund Selling (The Wall Street Journal)
Hedge fund activist Bill Ackman is used to calling the shots at the listed companies he frequently targets. So there is a certain irony in the fact that it is other hedge funds, he says, who are responsible for driving down the price of shares in his $5.8 billion listed firm, Pershing Square Holdings — a situation he calls a “disappointment.” Mr. Ackman, known for among other bets a long-running short position on Herbalife, and holdings in stocks such as Allergan Inc.AGN -0.45% and Zoetis Inc.ZTS +1.04%, raised $2.7 billion from new investors via a listing of the investment vehicle on the Euronext Stock Exchange in Amsterdam last year.

In DuPont Fight, Activist Investor Picks a Strong Target (New York Times)
Shareholder activism is in full roar as hedge funds prowl and companies retreat, but Nelson Peltz’s campaign to replace four directors at DuPont may just be where corporate America finally draws the line and tries to stem the activist tide. Activists are flush with money from investors who have found that activism works at prodding companies to improve their bottom lines — more than 400 funds now have more than $100 billion, according to estimates by Preqin — and they have been searching far and wide for targets. DuPont is one of the most prominent. In August 2013, Mr. Peltz’s hedge fund, Trian Fund Management, announced that it had taken a stake in DuPont, one that would grow to 2.7 percent. Trian called for a breakup of DuPont while also arguing that it could cut $4 billion in expenses.

Highfields Clients Said to Pull 3% of Assets at Year-End (Bloomberg)
Highfields Capital Management, the investment firm run by Jonathon Jacobson, told clients at year-end that it expected redemptions equaling about 3 percent of its $12.5 billion in assets. The redemptions, which would be about $375 million, come after Boston-based Highfields posted low single-digit returns last year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The firm is closed to new investments and returned about 15 percent of capital to clients in 2013 after it gained 27 percent that year.

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