Berkshire Invests in Solar Bet; Krishnan Joins Ghani; Hedge Fund dropped in November

Berkshire Buys $2B Power Project In Solar Bet (Bloomberg)

Warren Buffett‘s MidAmerican Energy Holdings utility agreed to buy the $2 billion Topaz project in southern California, branching into solar power after the industry was battered by stock markets around the world. Buffett’s Iowa-based utility, which entered clean energy by buying U.S. wind farms and a stake in Chinese electric-car producer BYD Co., struck today’s deal after First Solar failed to get a U.S. government loan guarantee for the project that will use its thin-film panels. The purchase may make it easier for the solar company to sell additional projects.

Warren Buffett

California Man Pleads In NY Insider Trading Case (WSJ)

Stanley Ng, 43, of Cupertino, Calif., entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to a single conspiracy charge, saying he shared inside information in late 2007 and 2008 while working at Santa Clara, Calif.-based Marvell Technology Group Ltd. “At the time I did this, I knew it was illegal, wrong to share that information,” Ng told Judge Jed S. Rakoff. According to the terms of a plea agreement with the government, Ng faces between six months and a year in prison when he is sentenced April 9.

Lone Pine’s Krishnan Teams With Goldman Vet For New Fund (FINalternatives)

Krishnan will be joined at his unnamed new hedge fund by Tanvir Ghani, former head of capital introduction for the Asia-Pacific region at Goldman Sachs, Reuters reports. Ghani’s connections and fundraising experience will be vital to the Hong Kong-based firm as it tries to become one of only a handful of Asia-based hedge funds managing at least US$1 billion. Ghani and Krishnan’s new firm aims to launch its maiden hedge fund in April. Lone Pine will invest in the management company, but not in its products. Krishnan will serve as chief investment officer and Ghani as chief operating officer.

New York City Quietly Raises Taxes On Hedge Funds, Private Equity Managers (FINalternatives)

New York City’s Department of Finance has stopped allowing hedge fund and private equity fund managers claim a longstanding exemption from the city’s unincorporated business tax. “Previously, alternative investment firms had been able to skirt the 4% tax on expenses such as staff compensation. As a result of the disallowance, there is an increase in the unincorporated business tax and/or a reduction in net operating loss carry forward,” wrote by Ernst & Young to its clients.

Hedge Funds Fell 1% In November, Beating Global Stocks Hit By Euro Crisis (Bloomberg)

Hedge funds fell 1 percent in November as global stock markets slumped because of growing concern that the European sovereign-debt crisis would spread. The Bloomberg aggregate hedge-fund index dropped to 116.03 from 117.22 in October, bringing this year’s loss to 3.8 percent. Long-short equity funds, multistrategy funds and macro funds, which bet on global economic trends, declined. Multistrategy (BBHFMLTI) hedge funds fell 1 percent in November and 1.8 percent in 2011. Macro funds declined 1.5 percent last month and 4.8 percent this year. Long-short equity funds, whose managers can bet on rising and falling stocks, slumped 2.1 percent in November and 3.8 percent this year.

FX Specialist Quiris Capital Preps First Fund (HFM Week)

Quiris Capital is poised to launch its first hedge fund. According to HFM Week, the Quiris Currency Cayman Fund will debut in early 2012, having ended its initial offering period in late November. Quiris has applied a long/short systematic currency multi-signal approach strategy via a separate account since February 2011 and paper trading before that. Cumulative performance is currently 18.7%.

State Street Appoints New Head Of Operations For Alternatives Team (HFM Week)

State Street Corporation has hired Paul McLaughlin as head of operations for the Alternative Investment Solutions team in Guernsey, as the financial services provider looks to build out its presence in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). McLaughlin said: “Guernsey has a vibrant and sophisticated funds industry and I am delighted to have the opportunity to join State Street and help to grow its offering at such an interesting time for the industry. With the increasing trend to outsource fund administration, I see many opportunities for the Channel Islands with its unique position outside the European Union.”