Hedge Fund and Insider Trading News: Bill Ackman, George Soros, Bandera Partners, Mantle Ridge LP, Luby’s Inc. (LUB), Nestle SA (NESN), and More

Billionaire Hedge Fund Mogul George Soros Warns That the US-China ‘Cold War’ Could Escalate Into a ‘Hot One’ (CCN)
Billionaire hedge funder George Soros has warned that the ‘cold war’ consuming the United States and China could get ugly. Speaking in Davos, Switzerland on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF), the chairman of hedge fund Soros Fund Management said things could get nasty as the world’s two biggest economies stay locked in a trade war, according to CNBC: The reality is that we are in a cold war that threatens to turn into a hot one.

How to End the Government Shutdown: Stop Paying Congress, Ackman Says (Bloomberg)
Hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman made a rare social-media appearance late on Thursday, tweeting that government shutdowns would not occur if members of Congress went unpaid along with federal government workers. As the partial U.S. government shutdown extended into its 34th day on Friday, the Pershing Square Capital founder noted in a tweet that members of Congress were paid during this period while federal government workers were not.

Luby’s Beats Back Board Challenge from Bandera Partners (Reuters)
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Casual dining chain Luby’s Inc. (LUB.N) said on Friday that it beat back a long-term shareholder’s bid for four board seats when investors sided with management and elected all nine of the company’s director nominees. Investors supported all of Luby’s directors ending a battle between the company and Bandera Partners, a small New York-based hedge fund that owns roughly 10 percent of Luby’s shares and demanded more accountability and oversight by the board.

Hedge Fund Canyon Partners Readies War Chest for the Right Market Moment (Bloomberg)
Canyon Partners’ top executive says the hedge fund has a large cash position waiting on the sidelines, ready to be put to work after a sell-off.

Nestle Chairman Defends Long-term Strategy in Face of Shareholder Activist (Reuters)
DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – Nestle SA (NESN.S) chairman Paul Bulcke said on Friday he would not pursue short-term efforts at the expense of long-term success, in the face of scrutiny from shareholder activists who know how to “pressure-point you and tease.” Hedge fund Third Point LLC, run by shareholder activist Daniel Loeb, took a $3 billion stake in Nestle in 2017, and has said that the maker of KitKat bars and Perrier water could double its earnings per share by 2022 if it splits up its businesses.

Creditors: Eddie Lampert Reaped Billions but Left Sears Insolvent (The Wall Street Journal)
Sears’s creditors outline how the billionaire’s hedge fund profited from stock buybacks, spinoffs and interest charges. Sears Holdings Corp. Chairman Edward Lampert and his hedge fund used stock buybacks, spinoffs and dividends to rake in billions while stripping the company of its best assets, according to creditors.

December Drags Nordic Fixed-Income HFs Into Negative Territory (HedgeNordic.com)
Stockholm (HedgeNordic) – The group of Nordic fixed-income hedge funds reported their third consecutive month of negative performance in December, erasing all of their gains for 2018. The NHX Fixed Income was down 0.6 percent last month (97 percent reported), and logged a negative 0.4 percent return for 2018. The year was the second-worst year on record for Nordic fixed-income hedge funds, yet, the group ended last year as the best-performing category in the NHX.

Large Holder of CSX Stock Sells $126 Million of Shares (Barron’s)
Mantle Ridge, a hedge fund that is a large shareholder of railroad CSX (ticker: CSX), sold $125.5 million of the stock this week. The fund disclosed in a form it filed to the Securities and Exchange Commission Friday that it sold 1.93 million CSX shares on Wednesday at an average per-share price of $65.01. Mantle Ridge now has overall ownership of 40.8 million CSX shares.