Hedge Fund and Insider Trading News: Bill Ackman, Eddie Lampert, Mike Novogratz, Huntington Bancshares Incorporated (HBAN), Apple Inc (AAPL), Fortinet Inc (FTNT), and More

Here are the Biggest Holdings of Bill Ackman, Who is Doubling the Return of the S&P 500 this Year (CNBC)
Activist investor Bill Ackman‘s Pershing Square Holdings is off to a strong start in 2019 thanks to some key new stakes and outperformance of prior investments. The hedge fund reported on Wednesday that its portfolio is up 24.7 percent this year, easily topping the S&P 500’s 9.7 percent return. This follows four-straight years of negative returns for his fund. According to the latest holdings, the fund’s biggest stakes include Restaurant Brands, Lowe’s, Chipotle, United Technologies and Automatic Data Processing.

Eddie Lampert Thinks Sears, After Emerging from Bankruptcy, Could be a Public Company Again (CNBC)
Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert has a new vision for the department store chain, once a publicly traded retailer until it was forced to file for bankruptcy last year. “If I am a betting person, which I am, I would say at some point we would be public again,” Lampert told The Wall Street Journal. It was his first interview since the deal to use his ESL Investments hedge fund to buy Sears out of bankruptcy was approved this month. Through the $5.2 billion deal, 425 Sears and Kmart stores and 45,000 jobs were saved.

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Pernod CEO Pursues Change and Engages Activist Shareholder (Reuters)
LONDON (Reuters) – Pernod Ricard will embrace change and continue “constructive” talks with activist investor Elliott Management, CEO Alexandre Ricard said on Tuesday while dismissing speculation that the company could become a takeover target. The world’s second-biggest spirits group behind Diageo is under pressure from New York hedge fund Elliott Management to improve profit margins and corporate governance.

Stars Aligning for China Equity Manager (HFAlert)
After seeing its business crimped by regulations, Shanghai ShenYi Investment is positioning itself for an expansion. The growth would come in part through a systematic equity vehicle called China Arbitrage Fund through which the $400 million Shanghai firm is aiming to raise capital from investors outside China for the first time. That entity currently manages $2 million of partner capital and is about to add $15 million in the form of a separate account for a large U.S. institution. With the assistance of placement agent Protocol Capital, ShenYi met with some 45 investors, including many heavy hitters, in a roadshow that included Context Summits’ “Miami 2019” conference, which took place Jan. 30-Feb. 1 in Miami Beach. From there, the firm visited Chicago and New York. It also is planning a trip to Europe.

Crypto Finally Poised to Get Institutional Money, Novogratz Says (Bloomberg)
Institutional money should start to flow into cryptocurrencies within the next year, setting the stage for a rally, according to Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd. founder Mike Novogratz. “All the architecture that institutions need to feel comfortable with this is being put in place,” Novogratz said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “You’re going to start to see custody come online” through the middle of March, paving the way for the “smart money” to enter in a serious fashion.

SCF’s Asset Growth Passes New Milestone (HedgeNordic)
Stockholm (HedgeNordic) – Scandinavian Credit Fund has reached SEK 3 billion in assets under management following record commitments from investors in December and January. The alternative investment fund engaged in direct lending to small and medium-sized companies had reached SEK 1 billion in assets in October of 2017 and reached the SEK 2 billion-mark in June last year. With the effort of six analysts and originators part of its debt capital market (DCM) origination team, Scandinavian Credit Fund provides short- to medium-term direct loans to small- and medium-sized companies seeking capital for business expansion, inventory or equipment purchases, working capital needs, or refinancing.

Billionaire Gives One Million Dollar Donation To Bill Daley’s Campaign (WJOL.com)
Illinois’ richest man is making a major donation to Bill Daley’s campaign for mayor of Chicago. Billionaire hedge fund CEO Ken Griffin is donating one million dollars to the candidate from a well known family. He called Daley a proven leader who understands the importance of working for all Chicagoans regardless of politics, race or background. The election is set for February 26th.