Hedge Fund News: John Paulson, Whitney Tilson, SandRidge Energy Inc. (SD)

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PAULSON & COHardly hedging (NYPost)
John Paulson, the hedge fund manager who made a fortune during the downturn but more recently blamed a bad 2012 performance on Europe, didn’t let that stop him giving friends holiday gifts from Thomas Pink of Jermyn Street, London. We’re told restaurateur Nello Balan was amazed when Paulson dropped off a dozen Pink shirts on Christmas Eve. It’s not all bad for Paulson — a witness tells us, “The two had a Champagne toast to the new year before Paulson hopped his jet with his wife, Jenny, and daughters to his mansion in Aspen that he recently purchased from Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan at a fire-sale price of $49 million, which included two properties that might have fetched $150 million in 2006.”

Is The Shorting Frenzy Behind Herbalife, The Alleged Pyramid Scheme, Over? (Forbes)
Another day, another hedge fund manager says he’s short Herbalife. Investors at large seem to have stopped caring much. Whitney Tilson, owner of T2 Partners, today revealed that he is short Herbalife. He’s only into the stock for a small amount, noting that shares are hard to borrow these days. Tilson confirmed this to me, but it was earlier reported by The Wall Street Journal. Less than a week ago, Pershing Square Capital’s Bill Ackman threw an elaborate presentation in New York in which he outlined why he has shorted the stock. Ackman called Herbalife a pyramid scheme, a type of fraud not dissimilar to Ponzi schemes…

Hedge funds’ disappointing decade for some (Opalesque)
The Economist is wondering why the Nobel Foundation plans to increase its investment in hedge funds. After all, the paper says in its year-end issue, hedge funds’ returns were mediocre in 2012. Furthermore, “the S&P 500 has now outperformed its hedge-fund rival for ten straight years, with the exception of 2008 when both fell sharply,” the article notes. “A simple-minded investment portfolio—60% of it in shares and the rest in sovereign bonds—has delivered returns of more than 90% over the past decade, compared with a meagre 17% after fees for hedge funds. As a group, the supposed sorcerers of the financial world have returned less than inflation. Gallingly, the profits passed on to their investors are almost certainly lower than the fees creamed off by the managers themselves.”

Profits dip at Odey (eFinancialNews)
Retained profits available for discretionary division among members were £26m for the 12 months to April 5, according to the group’s most recent accounts filed with Companies House. This figure was down from £33.4m a year previously. The firm suffered a drop of more than two thirds in performance fees from £8.5m to £2.5m over the period. An Odey spokesman confirmed the contents of the results. The most recent accounts reflect the calendar year of 2011, in which Crispin Odey’s flagship Odey European hedge fund lost 20.6%, according to investors. During 2011, a quarter of its long exposure was to financials, which was the sector worst hit by the sovereign debt crisis.

Canandaigua software firm names new CEO (RBJ)
ClearMomentum Inc., a Canandaigua-based provider of financial performance software and services, has named a new president and CEO. The company announced Wednesday that financial technology and hedge-fund industry veteran Dan Dykens will replace founder John Grabski, who will continue to serve as the company’s chairman. “After searching for nearly two years for a CEO candidate with deep domain expertise, leadership skills and a passion for customer service, we successfully engaged with one of the most talented CEOs in the industry,” Grabski said. “We could not be more pleased with having Dan on board to take ClearMomentum to the next level.”

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