Ken Griffin’s Latest Trade, Passport Capital’s Bullish Oil Comments

Citadel in Big E*Trade Sale, Hits Broker’s Stock (Reuters)
E*Trade Corp’s largest stakeholder, hedge fund Citadel, is moving to sell nearly 24 million shares in the U.S. online brokerage, sending E*Trade shares down 5.9 percent on Thursday. A Citadel Investment Group affiliate launched an underwritten offering, set to close March 1, that would reduce the Chicago-based fund’s stake to about 18 percent of E*Trade, from about 27 percent currently, according to a regulatory filing late on Wednesday.

CITADEL INVESTMENT GROUP

Passport Capital Was Bullish About Oil Before the Jump (WSJ)
“Half of (world) demand comes from emerging markets and is still growing, and the supply of oil is fairly inelastic,” said Walther Lovato, a co-portfolio manager for Passport’s energy strategy. The demand inelasticity has been reflected in the price. Brent crude started the year with a bang and has scaled a fresh two-year high of $103.37 a barrel earlier this month amid political tensions in the Middle East. And that came on the heels of a 15.2% surge in 2010. Passport, a $4.1 billion hedge-fund manager founded by John Burbank in 2000, has had solid gains from its energy strategy fund in the last two years. It posted net gains of 42% last year, after a 52% surge in 2009, according to an investor letter. Passport employs a team of six—two portfolio managers, an analyst, a mechanical engineer, a Ph.D. in materials science and a strategy consultant on power—to conduct its own studies on oil companies as well as their reserves ahead of investing in energy equities.

U.S. Hedge Fund Taconic Takes $250m BskyB Stake (Reuters)
Taconic Capital Advisors, the $7 billion-plus New York hedge fund, has taken a significant stake in Rupert Murdoch’s buyout target, British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc (BSY.L), regulatory filings this week show.

Aegon to Sell Shares to Repay State Aid After Net Income Beats Estimates (Bloomberg)
Aegon NV, the Dutch owner of U.S. insurer Transamerica Corp., fell the most in nine months in Amsterdam trading after announcing plans to sell shares to repay 750 million euros ($1 billion) of state aid. It will sell 173.6 million shares, or 10 percent of the current total, to institutional investors, the Hague-based insurer said in a statement today. The mean estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News was for Aegon to raise 645 million euros.

New Asian Funds Attract Almost $4B In 2010 (FinAlternatives)
“Despite a slightly lackluster second half, new Asian hedge fund launches continued to see a sustained interest, though rising barriers to entry meant that most of the capital went to either second-generation managers with a strong pedigree or new offerings from established hedge fund shops,” says Aradhna Dayal, editor of AsiaHedge in Hong Kong.

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