Hedge Fund and Insider Trading News: Warren Buffett, Steve Cohen, Greenlight Capital, Horseman Capital Management, Conifer Holdings Inc (CNFR), Nike Inc (NKE), and More

‘This is the Shareholders’ Money’: Billionaire Warren Buffett Argues that Companies should Stop Making Decisions Based on Their Social Beliefs (Business Insider)
The legendary investor Warren Buffett thinks that companies shouldn’t assign their investors’ cash to social causes and should instead focus on what would most benefit the shareholders, the Financial Times reported. More companies and funds have shifted attention from simple profitability to so-called ESG – environmental, social, and governance – issues in a bid to gain public favor. The Berkshire Hathaway CEO opposes the idea, saying that public companies’ primary concern should be maximizing shareholder value.

Clark’s Hedge Fund Plunges by Record 35% as Short Bets Backfire (Bloomberg)
Russell Clark’s hedge fund slumped by 35% last year — its biggest-ever annual loss — as his short bets went awry during the longest bull market in history. The Horseman Global Fund has persistently wagered against equities since 2012, and raised its net short position to a record 111% of gross assets in October. Clark’s bold, contrarian move, which has made him one of the most watched hedge fund managers in the world, backfired as the S&P 500 index surged 31.5% last year. A spokeswoman for Horseman Capital Management confirmed the numbers.

Greenlight Comes up Short in Fourth Quarter (Institutional Investor)
Greenlight Capital posted a sharp loss in the fourth quarter, reversing what was previously shaping up to be a strong year. The firm’s eponymous, value-oriented long-short hedge funds headed by David Einhorn posted a small 0.3 percent loss in December. As a result, the funds finished 2019 up 13.8 percent, dropping around 10 percent for the fourth quarter, according to a person with knowledge of the firm’s performance. The funds had risen 24 percent through September. In contrast the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index surged almost 29 percent in 2019. Greenlight declined to comment.

Steve Cohen Is Back (Relatively Speaking)! (Deal Breaker)
As your go-to source for questions related to Steve Cohen’s back-ness-Is Steve Cohen back? Is he not because he never left? Why is he back? Does he really want to be back at all? How much is Steve Cohen’s being back costing him? How long do you have to be back with the newly-back Steve Cohen? What will the back Steve Cohen’s nom de hedge be? Who is back with Steve Cohen? Just how back is Steve Cohen in Steve Cohen terms? Should Steve Cohen have come back at all? Who is driving Steve Cohen’s back-ness? Will Steve Cohen stay back?-we are obliged to inform you: Steve Cohen is definitely back. By hedge fund standards.

How Billionaires Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg Corrupted Climate Science (Forbes)
This is a story of American democracy. It one sense, it’s a noble story. People with shared values have come together to petition the government and the public on their political aims, just as envisioned by James Madison in Federalist 10. In another sense it’s a story of privilege and conceit – the privilege in American democracy that accompanies being mindbogglingly wealthy and the conceit that climate politics could be best pursued by corrupting the scientific literature on climate change.

A Billionaire Just Scooped Up the Most Expensive Home Ever Sold in Florida: a $111 million Estate that has its Own Bowling Alley (Business Insider)
In early December, hedge fund billionaire Steven Schonfeld and his wife bought an estate in Florida for $111 million. The property boasts over 70,000 square feet of living space, 350 feet of beachfront, and 233 feet on the Intracoastal Waterway. According to a report by CNBC, it’s the most expensive home ever sold in the state. A spokesperson for the couple told Fox Business that the 11-bedroom, 22-bathroom home went into contract over the summer and will serve as a vacation home for the family; the Schonfelds primarily reside in New York. According to CNBC, the new property’s amenities include a bowling alley, a spa, an ice cream stand, and a candy parlor.

Pro Bankruptcy Briefing: McDermott Mulls Bankruptcy, Looks to Line Up $2 Billion DIP | PG&E Wins Interest Rate Fight | Boy Scouts Hire Outsider as New CEO (The Wall Street Journal)
Good day and happy new year! We’re ringing in 2020 with an exclusive from WSJ Pro’s Soma Biswas and Alex Gladstone on engineering giant McDermott International Inc.’s talks with HPS Investment Partners and Baupost Group LLC about bankruptcy and a $2 billion DIP loan. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali handed PG&E Corp. a win on New Years’ Eve in the utility’s interest-rate fight with bondholders. And WSJ Pro’s Andrew Scurria has another exclusive on the Boy Scouts of America hiring a new CEO in the face of a wave of sexual-abuse litigation.

Hedge Funds on Track to End 2019 with Four Consecutive Positive Quarters (Hedge Week)
Hedge fund managers recorded a second positive month in the fourth quarter of 2019, with the equal-weighted index up 0.73 per cent and the asset-weighted index up 0.20 per cent in November following the positive geopolitical developments surrounding the US-China trade negotiations. On an annual basis, returns were positive across geographic and strategic mandates, supported by the risk-on sentiment and accommodative central bank policies throughout the year. Approximately 32.2 per cent of the hedge fund managers tracked by Eurekahedge have generated double-digit returns as of November 2019 year-to-date.