Hedge Fund News: Harbinger, Eton Park, George Soros

Falcone’s Harbinger Lost 19.5% in Illiquid Fund (Bloomberg)
Harbinger Capital Partners LLC, the hedge-fund run by billionaire Philip A. Falcone, lost 19.5 percent last year in a pool of hard-to-sell assets that it’s divesting, according to a letter sent to investors this week. Falcone also told clients in a separate letter this week that the so-called side-pocket would be paying $45 million to settle a civil suit involving Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc., one of the companies in the pool, said an investor who asked not to be named because the fund is private.

HARBINGER

Eton Park Considers New Emerging Markets Fund (AR-Alpha)
Eton Park Capital Management is considering whether to launch an emerging markets fund to co-invest alongside its main funds, according to the firm’s 2010 yearend investor letter. “We are excited about our pipeline of emerging market private investments, an area in which we believe we have a significant competitive advantage,” the firm said in the January 18 letter. “We continue to actively pursue these investments and in 2011, expect to further build our team focused on these opportunities.”

Capula Hired As Wisconsin Pension’s First Hedge Fund (FinAlternatives)
Wisconsin’s top public pension fund has made its first investment in a hedge fund, allocating $100 million to Capula Investment Management. …Wisconsin picked Capula’s GRV Fund, which “invests in fixed-income and currency arbitrage and relative-value opportunities in the most liquid G3 companies,” the spokeswoman, Vicki Hearing, said.

Hedge Fund Startups (Bloomberg)
Hedge-fund startups are slowing as institutional investors favor larger managers and regulators increase oversight of the industry, according to Citigroup Inc. “We are seeing the larger funds getting larger and less of the startup spirit that really typified the hedge fund industry five to 10 years ago,” said Nick Roe, London-based global head of prime finance at Citigroup. “A continuation of institutional flows and increased regulation in international markets are making the traditional entrepreneurial hedge fund startups more difficult.” The number of new hedge funds worldwide declined to about 150 in the fourth quarter, from almost 250 a year earlier, according to a February report by Singapore-based Eurekahedge Pte. More than 80 percent of the $55 billion put into hedge funds last year went to those with more than $5 billion, Chicago-based Hedge Fund Research Inc. said in January.

Soros Returned 2.63% in 2010 (II Magazine)
George Soros’s Quantum Endowment Fund last year turned in its worst performance in nine years. The nearly $28 billion fund gained a measly 2.63 percent, its skimpiest gain since it lost 1.72 percent in 2002. In recent interviews with Bloomberg and CNBC, the 80 year-old Hungarian has gone out of his way to distance himself from last year’s results, stressing he is now retired. For the past three years, BlackRock co-founder Keith Anderson has served as chief investment officer. It is not clear what bets contributed to Quantum’s small gain last year.

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