Ubben’s Latest Move (Marketwatch)
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International’s $5.7 billion bid for drug maker Cephalon Inc. is the latest in an acquisition spree backed by Jeff Ubben’s activist hedge fund firm ValueAct Capital Management. ValueAct’s largest holding is Valeant, a position the firm has held for a few years. The position is over 20% of ValueAct’s equity portfolio, which is worth over $4 billion. That makes Ubben’s firm the third-largest Valeant shareholder, behind Fidelity and value investing firm Ruane, Cuniff & Goldfarb, according to FactSet data. ValueAct partner G. Mason Morfit joined Valeant’s board in 2007 and the chief executive was replaced in 2008 with a former McKinsey & Co. partner, J. Michael Pearson.
Barington presses for Ameron appointment (HFMWeek)
Barington, which has been an investor in AMN since December 2009, has also received support from the two largest proxy firms in its initiative, including Glass Lewis & Co and Institutional Shareholder Services. “As a rule, we are reticent to recommend the removal of incumbent directors, or in favour of dissident nominees,” Glass Lewis said. “However, [Mitarotonda] is likely to have a positive impact at Ameron given the company’s historical performance and governance track record.” Last year, Barington returned 29.69%. In 2009 it was up 52.39%.Barington Capital Group, the New York-based event-driven hedge fund, is pressing shareholders of Ameron International Corp (AMN) to elect portfolio manager James Mitarotonda to the company’s board of directors, arguing he will help retool the manufacturer, HFMWeek has learned.
Brevan Howard Hires Three Goldman Sachs Traders for Biggest Hedge Fund (Bloomberg)
Brevan Howard Asset Management LP hired three Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) employees to trade for its biggest hedge fund, according to a person briefed on the matter. Karl Devine, Andrew Dausch and Brad Lord will trade for the $25 billion Brevan Howard Master Fund Ltd., said the person, who asked not to be named because the appointments haven’t been announced. The three will work in Brevan Howard’s London office, the person said. Goldman Sachs is losing traders as it complies with a provision of the U.S.’s Dodd-Frank financial rules that restricts banks from betting capital for their own accounts. Devine, Dausch and Lord are opting to trade for the world’s biggest macro fund instead of following the path of former Goldman Sachs employees that decided to start their own firms.
FISAM Capital hedge fund closes (Reuters)
FISAM Capital, a tech-focused hedge fund founded by a former top trader with SAC Capital Advisors, closed its doors a few weeks ago after a large investor redeemed its money, said three people familiar with the situation. Stefan Frank, a former portfolio manager with Steven Cohen‘s SAC Capital Advisors, founded FISAM in November 2009. The fund managed a little under $100 million, and after Frank received the redemption request he found it difficult to keep trading, these sources said. In its brief life, FISAM had posted positive but not spectacular returns. A source said the fund registered about a 6 percent gain since it began trading in December 2009. The average hedge fund was up a little over 7 percent in 2010.
Coeli to Become Investment Manager for Plenum Power Surge Fund (Bloomberg)
Coeli AB, a Stockholm-based money manager, will become the investment manager for the Plenum Power Surge hedge fund, taking over from Plenum Investments Ltd. Henrik Wennberg, a senior fund adviser at Plenum and co- founder of Power Surge, will be the head trader when Coeli acquires the fund on May 1, Plenum Investment’s Chief Executive Officer Rainer Gruenig said yesterday by e-mail from Zurich. He declined to disclose any financial details of the accord. Power Surge, a 43 million-euro ($61 million) fund that invests in Nordic electricity contracts, lost 4.9 percent in the first two months of 2011 after gaining 24 percent last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Most hedge funds are private pools of capital whose managers participate in the profit from speculation on whether the asset prices will rise or fall.
The Daily Docket: Judge OKs RHI Chapter 11 Plan (WSJ)
A judge on Tuesday confirmed RHI Entertainment Inc.’s plan to exit bankruptcy under control of its senior lenders, who will swap their debt for equity in a restructured version of the movie production company. Read the Daily Bankruptcy Review story here. Also in today’s DBR, Aurelius Capital Management redesigned its Chapter 11 exit proposal for Tribune Co. amid the publisher’s confirmation hearings and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. is renewing its efforts to bring 19 stalled SunCal Co. real-estate projects out of bankruptcy under its ownership. In DBR Small Cap, Harry & David Holdings won approval to tap a bankruptcy financing package totaling $155 million.
Venezuelan workers caught up in US Ponzi scheme (WSJ)
The fallout from the biggest white-collar federal prosecution in Connecticut is being felt a continent away in Venezuela, where state oil workers are at risk of losing hundreds of millions of dollars from their pension fund that were invested with a now disgraced financier. U.S. prosecutors say Venezuelan-American Francisco Illarramendi used unregistered hedge funds in Stamford, Connecticut, as cover for a massive pyramid investment scheme with exclusively overseas clients. Venezuela’s government is now taking steps to recover what it can from an employee retirement fund for Petroleos de Venezuela, which contributed about 90 percent of the total investment.