Hedge Fund News: Phil Falcone, Marc Lasry & Daniel Loeb

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Leucadia Doubles Investment in Falcone’s Harbinger Amid Gain (SFGate)
Richard Handler’s Leucadia National Corp. (NYSE:LUK) more than doubled its bet on Philip Falcone’s Harbinger Group Inc. after the value of an earlier investment jumped. Leucadia agreed to buy 23 million preferred securities from Falcone’s hedge funds for $253 million, the firms said yesterday. That adds to Leucadia’s purchase last year of common stock that jumped more than 50 percent in value to $244 million by yesterday’s close. Harbinger Group owns businesses from consumer goods to insurance. Falcone, 51, is focused on building his publicly traded Harbinger Group after reaching a settlement with U.S. regulators that bars him from the hedge-fund industry…

HARBINGER

Dow Chemical raises asset sale target by $1.5 billion – $2 billion (Reuters)
The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) said it aimed to raise up to $6 billion from asset sales, $1.5 billion to $2.0 billion more than its earlier target, to focus on electronics, agriculture and packaging. Dow Chemical is under pressure from hedge fund titan Daniel Loeb‘s Third Point LLC to spin off its lucrative but slow-growing petrochemical unit and focus on specialty materials, but the company is reluctant to split the two businesses. The company has repeatedly defended its strategy of using its commoditized raw materials businesses to keep costs down at its high-growth specialty chemicals businesses.

Mitsubishi UFJ Fund Services acquires hedge fund administrator Meridian Fund Services Group (PIOnline)
Mitsubishi UFJ Fund Services on Wednesday announced it acquired hedge fund administrator Meridian Fund Services Group, pending regulatory approval. Terms were not disclosed, said Alistair Scott, Mitsubishi UFJ spokesman. Meridian was owned both by management and outside investors, Mr. Scott said. He did not know what percentage of the firm had been owned by management. Meridian has $14 billion in assets under administration. The acquisition raises Mitsubishi UFJ’s overall AUA to about $165 billion, including $93 billion administered for hedge funds.

Activist Hedge Funds Are Making Friends (BloombergView)
This DealBook article about the new alliances between activist hedge funds and long-only institutional shareholders is full of enjoyable oddities; here is my favorite part: …Also good are T. Rowe Price’s and BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK)‘s vague non-denials that they issue R.F.A.’s, and a proxy solicitor’s statement that “Institutional investors want to share the sick children in their portfolio with someone who can help make them better.” Lazard’s delightfully titled “head of corporate preparedness” is quoted saying, “This is the biggest shift in the battle for corporate control since private equity was invented in the 1980s,” and it’s worth thinking about it in the larger context of the separation of ownership and control.1

Och-Ziff May Have Been A Little Too Friendly With Gaddafi’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (DealBreaker)
Since it was restating its financials anyway after the SEC made it consolidate some CLOs, Och-Ziff Capital Management thought it might mention that the SEC (and Justice Dept.) is also interested in some bribery that may or may not have gone on before the Libyan dictator’s end. Och-Ziff began receiving subpoenas from the Securities and Exchange Commission and requests for information from the Justice Department in 2011, the filing said. The hedge-fund operator said the investigation “concerns an investment by a foreign sovereign wealth fund in some of the Och-Ziff funds in 2007 and investments by some of the funds, both directly and indirectly, in a number of companies in Africa.”

Sony Pictures To Cut 216 Jobs In California (BusinessInsider)
Sony Pictures Entertainment plans to cut 216 jobs in California and has filed with the state Employment Development Department, according to a person familiar with the matter. …Under pressure from hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb to improve profitability at its studio, in November Sony hired consultancy Bain & Co to identify more than $US100 million in cost cuts through layoffs and other means.

Hayman’s Bass on General Motors probe (CNBC)

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