Bill Ackman’s IPO Plans, Mark Spitznagel, and David Einhorn’s Mets Stake

Ackman Eyes I.P.O. for New Fund (Dealbook)
William A. Ackman, head of Pershing Square Capital Management, one of the strongest performing and most closely watched hedge fund managers, is considering raising capital for a new portfolio through an initial public offering, according to people familiar with the matter. He is hoping to raise as much as $3 billion, said one person. The firm itself would not go public. But the money manager could potentially tap into the capital markets for a new fund that would be listed on an exchange, the people said, adding that the plans were not finalized.

Bill Ackman in front of Perishi

Meet Mark Spitznagel: The Hedge Fund Manager Betting $6 Billion On A Doomsday Scenario (Business Insider)
Mark Spitznagel is losing tons of money every day running Universa, his $6 billion hedge fund, and he’s weirdly calm about it. Spitznagel’s fund is currently betting that a huge disaster is coming — that will cause the S&P to fall 40%, for example — and until it happens, he’ll keep losing money. It’s inevitable….Spitznagel is pretty young to be so pessimistic; only about 40. So he might have gotten that way from Nassim Taleb, the author of “The Black Swan.” Spitznagel was Taleb’s right hand man at Empirica, another doom-scenario fund. Taleb is now principal and senior scientific adviser at Universa (he shut Empirica after getting seriously ill).

Mets Refute Einhorn’s Rumored $1 Stake (HFN)
Hedge fund manager David Einhorn’s potential 33% stake in the New York Mets could reportedly become 60% in three years for just a dollar. But the Mets say any story about such a steal is simply a whiff. Einhorn, the head of $5 billion firm Greenlight Capital, is currently finalizing a deal with the Mets for a one-third minority stake in the team in return for his $200 million investment, but could end up with the 60% controlling stake for an additional $1 as part of the agreement, according to a report in Forbes on Wednesday.

Washington Hedge Fund Pegasus Settles With SEC (Hedgeco)
According to the SEC, PIM combined its securities trades with another firm’s in order for that firm to receive volume discounts. PIM was paid $90,000 over a 10-month period for its role and retained the money for itself rather than passing it along to fund investors.The SEC also charged PIM’s Vice President, Peter Benjamin Bortel, for his role in the violations, and PIM’s President and Chief Compliance Officer, Douglas Wayne Saksa, for failing reasonably to supervise Bortel. Without admitting or denying the findings, PIM, Bortel, and Saksa agreed to settle the SEC’s charges by paying a combined $165,000.

Networker Used Friends to Help ‘Hedge Fund Paymasters,’ U.S. Tells Jury (Bloomberg)
This was a brazen insider-trading scheme, and at the heart of it was Winifred Jiau,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Avi Weitzman said today in closing arguments in U.S. District Court in New York. “Just like her hedge fund clients, she did it for the money,” he said. Jiau, 43, is on trial charged with illegally passing nonpublic financial information about the two Santa Clara, California-based technology companies to hedge fund managers. She is the first of the so-called expert networkers to go on trial since the U.S. charged at least a dozen people beginning in November.

SAC Capital Advisors (HFMWeek)
Senator Charles Grassley turned up his pressure on the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate hedge fund heavyweight SAC Capital Advisors on Wednesday, writes Reuters, more than tripling to 65 the number of referrals of suspicious cases on which he says the SEC has remained silent. Grassley, the top-ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked SEC chair Mary Schapiro to say how the country’s main financial regulator handled 46 more cases of suspicious SAC trades referred to it by various exchanges.