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Hedge Fund Highlights: Stephen Mandel, George Soros & Philip Falcone

Mandel Tops Best-Earning Hedge Funds for Clients in 2013 (Bloomberg)
Stephen Mandel of Lone Pine Capital LLC made hedge-fund investors the most money for the second straight year in 2013. O. Andreas Halvorsen, who runs Viking Global Investors LP, and Appaloosa Management LP’s David Tepper ranked second and third in a study published today by LCH Investments NV in London. Mandel earned an estimated $5.2 billion for clients last year, Halvorsen made them $4.5 billion and Tepper $4.2 billion. The firms benefited from winning bets on companies such as Priceline.com Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN)The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (NASDAQ:GT) and Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) that outperformed U.S. stock market indexes, regulatory filings show.

LONE PINE CAPITAL

Soros’s hedge fund back on top (The Australian Financial Review)
George Soros’s Quantum Endowment fund has reclaimed the top spot as the world’s highest-earning hedge fund of all time, adding $US5.5 billion ($6.14 billion) to the US billionaire investor’s fortune. Mr Soros is famous for taking leveraged positions in currencies, interest rates, commodities and soverign debt, based on potential macro events and in 2013, it’s understood that he declared gold was in a bubble and he played his cards well. Most recently, Mr Soros turned his focus to China and warned that the world’s second largest economy was on a dangerous path in terms of the rate of credit growth and leverage.

Harbinger Gets Independent Monitor (FINalternatives)
A private-equity manager will oversee Harbinger Capital Management during firm founder Philip Falcone‘s five-year ban from acting as a hedge-fund manager. Jim Dunning, who leads Dunning Group, was chosen from five candidates by the Securities and Exchange Commission, whose settlement last year with Falcone called for an independent monitor. Falcone is barred from managing Harbinger’s hedge funds, but is permitted to participate in the sale of assets to cover investor redemptions.

US hedge fund Libra Advisers buys 7.2% stake in Rubicon for $12m (National Business Review)
US hedge fund Libra Advisors will take a $12 million stake in Rubicon in a private placement to shore up the company’s funding position and support its future commitments to forestry biotech firm ArborGen. The New York-based investor will buy 29.3 million shares at 41.29 cents per share, the volume weighted average price over the last 10 trading days, Rubicon said in a statement. The deal will settle at the close of trading on Wednesday, giving Libra a 7.2 percent holding. The shares were unchanged at 40 cents, having dropped 4.8 percent on Friday, and have gained 5.6 percent this year.

Chanos’s Kynikos Opportunity Fund Lost 14% in 2013 (Wall Street Journal)
A boom year for many global markets produced losses for one famously pessimistic hedge-fund manager. James Chanos‘s Kynikos Opportunity Fund fell 14% last year, the largest decline in at least a decade, according to a document detailing fund performance. That was the second consecutive year of losses for that fund, which dropped less than 1% in 2012. The S&P 500 gained 32% last year, including dividends, which meant challenging conditions for many so-called short sellers, who bet against stocks. Most hedge funds, including the Kynikos Opportunity Fund, can bet on rising markets and also profit from falling ones.

Govt. has to get Steve Cohen: Zamansky (CNBC.com)


Hedge Funds Clash Over Argentina Debt (Wall Street Journal)
As Argentina struggles to stave off a second debt default in 13 years, two U.S. hedge funds are playing central but opposing roles in the country’s efforts to untangle itself from the previous crisis. The two firms, Gramercy Funds Management LLC and Elliott Management Corp., have hundreds of millions of dollars at stake as Argentina tries to wrap up a saga that dates back to its decision to give up on its debt payments in December 2001. But the firms have taken conflicting tacks in trying to get their money back.

Investcorp principal quits for London hedge fund (Financial News)
London-based hedge fund Fenician Capital has recruited Investcorp principal Andrew Crane as its new chief executive. Crane has spent the past six years at Investcorp, having previously worked at hedge fund consultancy VHC Partners and asset management group Fidelity Investments. He hopes to bolster Fenician’s assets under management, which stand at just below $100 million, through a new marketing strategy and by using his network of contacts.

These big hedge funds got crushed in January (CNBC.com)
Most hedge funds that bet on big economic trends lost money in January, hurt by reversing stock markets and wrong-way currency bets. Some of the hedge fund industry’s most prominent names were among the losers for the month. A prime example was Caxton Associates‘s Caxton Global Investment fund, which fell 1.2 percent through Jan. 31. Andrew Law’s $7.7 billion New York based firm was hurt—like many others—by being long Japanese stocks and short the yen, according to a person familiar with the positioning. The Japanese Nikkei 225 fell 8.45 percent in January after steep gains in 2013. The yen gained nearly 3 percent in January after sharp declines last year.

Rajaratnam’s brother seeks dismissal of insider trading charges (CanIndia News)
Rengan Rajaratnam, the younger brother of imprisoned hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, urged a U.S. judge on Friday to dismiss insider trading charges leveled against him last year. In a motion filed in U.S. District Court in New York, his lawyers argued the government had taken positions in the indictment that contradicted positions prosecutors took in trying his older brother for insider trading. “Principles of fairness dictate that Rengan, at a minimum, should be tried under the same standard as Raj,” the defense lawyers wrote in the motion.

Trial gives peek into intense culture (Dallas Morning News)
Highland Capital Management is not the place for everybody. The Dallas hedge fund values employees with a tough work ethic. In exchange, investment professionals are richly rewarded when they perform well for investors and Highland. Top money managers become millionaires. Former top executive Patrick Daugherty made more than $26 million during his 131/2 years at the company. The relationship between the veteran executive and Highland, however, soured and culminated in a more than two-year legal fight. On Thursday, the jury issued a mixed verdict, ruling in favor of Highland in its breach-of-contract claim while ruling in favor of Daugherty in one of two compensation claims.

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