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Hedge Fund and Insider Trading News: Keith Meister, Jeffrey Smith, Highland Capital, Dare Bioscience Inc (DARE), Quest Resource Holding Corp (QRHC), KAR Auction Services Inc (KAR), and More

Activist Investor Jeff Smith: There is a ‘Huge’ Value Opportunity in Cerner (CNBC)
Shares of Cerner are up 20% this year but the medical records company can still rise much further as it is still cheap, activist investor Jeff Smith said Tuesday. Smith, the CEO of Starboard Value, told CNBC’s David Faber the company can expand its operating margins by about 3.5% if it meets certain targets the activist investor helped Cerner implement. “The market is not giving them credit for those targets. We believe those targets are achievable,” Smith said. “If they were to hit those targets, it would be a huge value opportunity at Cerner.”

Corvex’s Meister Likes Diamondback Energy After it Bought Energen (Reuters)
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Corvex Management manager Keith Meister on Tuesday named Diamondback Energy Inc. one of the hedge fund’s top investment picks after the energy company bought a rival last year. “We think there is lots of value,” Meister said at the 13D Monitor Active-Passive Summit. He said he expects Diamondback’s management team will do all the right things to boost returns. Chevron’s planned acquisition of Anadarko announced last week marked a turning point for oil and gas exploration and production companies, Meister said.

Insider Trading Back

Luis Louro / shutterstock.com

Highland Says It Lacks Cash to Pay Clients $175 Million Now (Bloomberg)
Highland Capital Management said it doesn’t have the cash on hand to make a payment of $175 million if that amount is eventually awarded to investors in its shuttered hedge fund by an arbitration panel. An attorney for the investment firm made the statement in a March 22 affidavit in Delaware Chancery Court that was meant to be sealed from public view. It came in a case in which Dallas-based Highland was sued by investors in a hedge fund that was shut down during the financial crisis. Arbitrators haven’t yet issued a final financial award in the case, and Highland doesn’t explain how it came to the $175 million figure in its court papers.

Starboard takes new position in KAR Auction Services (Reuters)
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Activist investment firm Starboard Value has taken a new position in KAR Auction Services, the firm’s founder Jeffrey Smith said at a conference on Tuesday. He called the company’s valuation “compelling” at the 13D Monitor Active-Passive Summit. “We believe KAR is a tremendous opportunity,” Smith said, adding that he thinks there is plenty of room for margin improvement and expects that portions of the business can be spun off in the near term.

KKR Strikes Hedge Fund Gold With British Billionaire Pair (Bloomberg)
A pair of 200-year-old wooden elephants adorn the London lobby of one of the financial world’s biggest beasts. The carvings guard the Chelsea office of fast-growing $39 billion hedge fund Marshall Wace. Co-founders Paul Marshall and Ian Wace are an unlikely duo. Marshall, 59, studied at St. John’s College, Oxford, before graduating with an MBA from Insead. He ran unsuccessfully for Parliament before turning to finance and backed Brexit. Wace, 56, went straight to work for SG Warburg before joining Deutsche Morgan Grenfell. He supported the U.K. sticking with the European Union.

Third Point, Pershing Square Sell Stakes in ‘Flash Boys’ Exchange IEX (The Wall Street Journal)
Some of the earliest investors in IEX Group Inc. recently sold their stakes in the upstart stock exchange, including activist hedge funds Third Point LLC and Pershing Square Capital Management LP, people familiar with the matter said. The funds exited their stakes in a transaction that valued privately owned IEX at more than $700 million, up from its previous valuation of about $500 million, according to people briefed on the deal. Another early investor, Senator Investment Group LP, and some employees of New York-based IEX.

Apparently Eddie Lampert Can Prevent The Closure Of A Company He Owns Most Of (DealBreaker)
Call it a tale of two Sears: The first is (well, was) Sears Canada, a company in which Eddie Lampert-controlled companies owned a 53.5% stake. The second is Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores, a company in which Eddie Lampert-controlled companies own a 58% stake. The first, as you may have guessed by the use of the past participle, is no more, having closed its doors for good on Jan. 14, 2018. This outcome was regrettable, Lampert said, but there was nothing he could do about it, according to him. “I have never served as a director or officer of Sears Canada, so I don’t have firsthand knowledge of their internal deliberations,” he said, adding that he “did not agree with” the decision to shut the whole thing down.

Hedge Funds Extend Winning Streak for Third Consecutive Month (Opalesque.com)
Hedge funds continued their winning ways in March with a third straight month of positive returns as Fed interest rate stance and U.S.-China trade talk progress fuel investor enthusiasm. March’s hedge fund return was 0.67%, according to the Barclay Hedge Fund Index. In comparison, the S&P 500 Total Return Index rose 1.94% in March. Year-to-date through the end of March hedge funds posted a 5.64% return while the S&P was up 13.07%. “The Fed’s announcement that it would hold interest rates steady for the remainder of the year added fuel to the ongoing uptrends in stock and bond markets,” said Sol Waksman, president of BarclayHedge. “Asian emerging markets responded enthusiastically to signs of a thaw in a U.S.-China trade war, while lower U.S. interest rates added further momentum.”

Best Nordic Hedge Fund 2018 Overall (HedgeNordic)
Stockholm (HedgeNordic) – The “Best Nordic Hedge Fund Overall” title rewards the best fund in the Nordic hedge fund universe across all categories and strategies and is likely the most desired recognition at the Nordic Hedge Award. For 2018, Gladiator Fond managed by Max Mitteregger was named the best Nordic hedge fund of 2018, adding a new name to the list of winners in the main award category.

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