Hedge Fund and Insider Trading News: Bill Ackman, D.E. Shaw, Eddie Lampert, Facebook Inc (FB), McCormick & Company (MKC), and More

‘For a While There, We Forgot that Our Main Job Was to Make Money’, Said Bill Ackman – Now His Hedge Fund’s Up 40% in 2019 (Market Watch)
At a money-manager conference in New York earlier this week, Ackman acknowledged a string of missteps in recent years that saw his main hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management stumble badly, shrinking to around $11 billion from a peak of $20 billion in 2015. Some of Ackman’s losses came on the back of a series of hard-charging activist bets around nutrititional-supplement companyHerbalife Nutrition Ltd. HLF, -1.44% and the former Valeant Pharmaceuticals, now known as Bausch Health Cos. Inc. VRX, +9.29%.

D.E. Shaw Is to Buck Industry Trend With 3-and-30 Fees (Bloomberg)
D.E. Shaw & Co. is making it more expensive for investors in its biggest hedge fund, raising fees while many of its rivals have been forced to slash them. The New York-based investment firm is reverting to a fee model that it held for the better part of the 2000s, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The new structure will charge 3 percent of assets and 30 percent of profits and will take effect at the start of next year.

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Sears Sues Former Chairman Lampert and Ex-board Members Like Mnuchin (The Seattle Times)
Sears Holding Corp. is suing its former chairman, Eddie Lampert, as well as former board members including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for allegedly stripping the retailer of billions of dollars as it collapsed into bankruptcy. The lawsuit, filed this week, accuses Lampert of a “multiyear and multifaceted scheme” to siphon more than $2 billion of the company’s assets to himself, his hedge fund ESL Investments and other insiders. It also names Mnuchin, who served on the board of both Sears and ESL, as approving some of the deals – including spin-offs of Orchard Supply Hardware and Lands’ End – that the lawsuit says ultimately benefited Lampert and his hedge fund.

Mayfair Hedge Fund Ramps Up Stake in IFG to 12.4% Ahead of Takeover (The Irish Times)
A UK hedge fund has built up a 12.4 per cent interest in Dublin-listed IFG Group as it takes advantage of the financial services firm trading at a discount to the price at which it has agreed to be taken over for £206 million (€238.3 million). Sand Grove Capital Management, based in the Mayfair in London, disclosed on March 26th that it had snapped up a 6.2 per cent stake in IFG through financial derivatives called contracts for difference the previous day, after it emerged the company had accepted a takeover offer.

L Brands Says Hedge Fund to Withdraw Board Nominees After Reaching Agreement (Reuters)
(Reuters) – L Brands said on Thursday activist investor Barington Capital has agreed to withdraw its proposed board nominees and instead will serve as a special adviser as part of an agreement with the company. The agreement comes a month after Barington urged the company to either explore a spin off of the underperforming Victoria’s Secret brand or take the much financially stronger Bath & Body Works public.

Hedge Fund Manager Nine Masts Capital Fined by Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (InsideBitcoins.com)
Nine Masts Capital, a Hong Kong-based hedge fund, has been fined by the local Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). The group is allegedly in violation of “naked short selling,” reports Financemagnates. The past is back to haunt: Apparently, the situation is from back in 2015, where Nine Masts Capital sold a share before it was publicly available. The share in question was of Yuzhou. Nine Masts Capital is being fined HK$1.2 million or $152,000 for the violation.

Employers Can Assure Retirement for $2.64 an Hour (Think Advisor)
Hedge fund titan Ray Dalio published a sobering essay last Friday about the state of capitalism in the U.S. He observed, correctly in my view, that “the ability to make money, save it, and put it into capital (i.e., capitalism) is an effective motivator of people and allocator of resources that raises people’s living standards.” But Dalio then went on to present myriad data showing that many Americans make too little money to live on, let alone save, with harmful consequences. He counts among them diminished health, education and economic mobility, high rates of incarceration, and widening wealth and income disparity that raise the risk of social unrest. In an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday, he called it “a national emergency.”