Hedge Fund News: Peter Thiel, FrontPoint, Investing In Egypt

Peter Thiel Hits Rock Bottom (II Magazine)
It’s an old tale given a new twist by the Internet: Great entrepreneurs don’t always make great investors. Peter Thiel was a co-founder of PayPal and an early backer of Facebook. Yet his once-promising San Francisco–based global macro hedge fund, Clarium, which at its peak in 2007 had $7 billion, is reportedly down to about $500 million, most of it Thiel’s own wealth. Clarium lost 23 percent in 2010. …He recently became a seed investor in Grandmaster Capital Management, a hedge fund firm founded last month by former Clarium Capital Management managing director Patrick Wolff.

FrontPoint completes split from Morgan Stanley (Reuters)
FrontPoint Partners, the $4.5 billion hedge fund ensnared in the government’s insider trading probe, is back on its own after more than four years of living with investment bank Morgan Stanley. …The move allows FrontPoint portfolio managers, including Steve Eisman, arguably the firm’s biggest star who cashed in on anticipating the housing market collapse long before anyone else, to operate more independently. Late last year, FrontPoint’s health care funds were forced to close down after a French physician was arrested and charged in early November with having illegally passed inside information to Joseph Skowron, a FrontPoint manager. Neither Skowron nor FrontPoint have been charged with any wrongdoing. At its peak before the financial crisis in 2008, FrontPoint managed $10 billion.

Investing in Egypt After the Revolution (Reuters)
Ahmed Fattouh, an Egyptian-American investor and chief executive of hedge fund and private equity firm Globalist Capital Management, spoke to Reuters about his thoughts on investing in Egypt after political turmoil. Fattouh, whose firm has offices in New York, London and Dubai, oversees about $300 million in assets and has been investing in the Middle East since 2005. He visited Cairo and Tahrir Square in the past few weeks and shared his thoughts. “Obviously there are going to be some distressed opportunities and this is a volatile time. The market has been closed for weeks, and obviously when it reopens there will be a good deal of selling pressure. That will obviously create some opportunities in terms of forced sellers and panicked sellers who will not be very focused on the fundamentals.”

JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM)

JPMorgan Prop. Desk To Get $2B In Hedge Fund Transition (FinAlternatives)
JPMorgan Chase will seed its proprietary-trading-desk-cum-internal-hedge-fund with $2 billion.
The figure may be an indication of the big plans the bank has for its transformed prop. desk: Under the same Dodd-Frank law forcing JPMorgan to move the desk to its asset management unit, a bank’s capital cannot make up any more than 3% of the assets of a hedge fund. In order for JPMorgan to keep its investment in the new unit at $2 billion, then, the firm would have to raise nearly $65 billion from outside investors.

Neuberger Berman Adds Kupperman To Funds Arm (FinAlternatives)
David Kupperman has joined New York-based money manager Neuberger Berman Group as a managing director of NB Alternatives Investment Management, the firm’s fund of hedge funds business.
Kupperman will be based in New York and involved in all aspects of the fund of hedge funds investment process.

Centro to Swap Australian Malls for Debt After Blackstone Deal (Bloomberg)
Centro Properties Group has agreed with a majority of creditors to swap debt for its Australian shopping centers after Blackstone Group LP bought the company’s 588 U.S. malls for $9.4 billion. Holders of about 73 percent of Centro’s liabilities agreed to cancel the Melbourne-based company’s senior debt in exchange for the Australian malls. Centro, which had a stock market value of about A$8.5 billion ($8.7 billion) in May 2007, will be left with $100 million to distribute to shareholders and other minority interests after the deal, it said in a statement today.

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