Hedge Fund and Insider Trading News: Eddie Lampert, Elliott Management, Alden Global Capital, Blonder Tongue Labs, Inc. (BDR), SCYNEXIS Inc (SCYX), and More

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Sears Sues Former CEO, Eddie Lampert, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Others for ‘Thefts’ of Billions from Bankrupt Retailer (CNBC)
Sears on Thursday lodged a lawsuit against its former CEO, Eddie Lampert, and a string its high-profile past board members, including his former Yale roommate Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, for allegedly stealing billions of dollars from the once storied retailer. Sears Holdings filed for bankruptcy this past October, after years of losses under Lampert, who was then its chairman, CEO and largest shareholder. Lampert saved the retailer from complete liquidation by buying it through Transform Holdco, an affiliate of his hedge fund ESL Investments.

Activist Investing Is Alive and Well. Here’s a Look at Some Fresh Ideas (Barron’s)
Activist hedge-fund investors, like Carl Icahn, are shareholders who refuse to vote with their feet. They feel compelled to say something if they see something. Their approach can roil egos in the boardroom and even generate angst with traditional long-only asset managers. On Tuesday, activists gathered at the Plaza Hotel in Midtown Manhattan for the 10th annual 13D Monitor Investor Summit. 13D Monitor is a firm that follows activist situations. It even runs a mutual fund based on disclosed activist positions—it’s the 13D…

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Elliott Target Pernod Pushes Up Profit Outlook (Reuters)
PARIS (Reuters) – French spirits maker Pernod Ricard, which is being targeted by activist investor Elliott, raised its profit outlook on bets cost savings and Chinese demand will offset a slowdown in quarterly sales growth. Pernod, the world’s second-largest spirits group after Diageo, is hoping cost cuts, expansion into profitable premium brands such as Malfy gin and sustained demand for Martell cognac in China will underpin sales growth and profits. “We upgraded our ambition for the year. This truly reflects the efficiency of our strategy plan,” CEO Alexandre Ricard told Reuters.

Here’s How the World’s Biggest Hedge Funds are Shorting the Heart of Germany’s Economy (Business Insider)
AQR, Capital Fund Management, and Marshall Wace are among hedge funds making big bets against the German steel conglomerate Thyssenkrupp, the first time on record that so many at once have taken that position. In what may be a worrying sign for companies at the heart of Germany’s economy, bets against German steel have been ticking up this year, and Marshall Wace is racking up more than two dozen other short bets in Germany across a range of sectors.

Hedge Fund Under Federal Probe For Use Of Pension Money (InsuranceNewsNet.com)
Alden Global Capital, a prominent hedge fund that controls more than 100 local newspapers, moved nearly $250 million of employee pension savings into its own accounts in recent years, an unusual move that is triggering federal scrutiny. The hedge fund, the controlling owner of newspapers including the Denver Post and Boston Herald under the brand MediaNews…

Hedge Fund Assets Surge in Q1 to to $3.18tn but Still Below 2018 Record High (Opalesque.com)
Hedge fund industry assets increased during the first quarter to $3.18tn as of March 31, 2019 (Q1) driven primarily by strong investment performance overcoming continued net outflows. Total capital invested in hedge funds surged in the first quarter of 2019, paring losses from the prior quarter, as the strongest first quarter of industry performance since 2006 vaulted industry capital by $78.8bn, data released by Hedge Fund Research showed. The HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index gained +5.7% in 1Q, the strongest first quarter gain since 2006, according to the latest HFR Global Hedge Fund Industry Report.

Collapsed Hedge Fund Columna Sues Permira-backed Former Managers (Reuters)
LONDON (Reuters) – The new managers of Columna Commodities Fund, a Luxembourg hedge fund which went into liquidation in early 2017, have said they are suing its former managers Alter Domus for $56 million in lost assets and fees. Columna, launched in 2013, was a top-performing fund in a stable known as LFP I SICAV, managed by Luxembourg Fund Partners. Alter Domus, a Luxembourg fund platform and administrator that has financial backing from private equity giant Permira, bought Luxembourg Fund Partners in December 2017, after Columna’s collapse, when LFP I SICAV’s assets under management totaled nearly 400 million euros ($450 million).

Hedge Fund Flows Turn Positive in February Ending Five-month Redemption Trend (HedgeWeek)
Hedge fund flows turned positive in February, as a January stock market rebound, hopeful signs in US-China trade talks and indications of a pause in US interest rate hikes spurred investors to reverse a five-month trend of net redemptions. The hedge fund industry posted USD12.1 billion in net inflows in February, a significant improvement from January’s USD24.1 billion in redemptions. February’s inflows represented 0.4 per cent of hedge fund assets, according to the Barclay Fund Flow Indicator, published by BarclayHedge, a division of Backstop Solutions.

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