Bill Ackman’s Quiet Activist Campaign Over Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac (Forbes)
It has been about 100 hours since William Ackman revealed his Pershing Square hedge fund’s nearly 10% stake in both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But Ackman has not released any slide presentations telling America how the nation’s mortgage market should be run. He hasn’t conducted television interviews or described his investment in detail in a letter to his investors. Ackman didn’t even use any explosive language in Pershing Square’s Securities & Exchange Commission filing that disclosed the investment, which only said that Ackman and his hedge fund “have determined that they may engage in discussions with management, the board, other stockholders of the issuer, representatives of the federal government, and other relevant parties” about the future plans of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
DE Shaw hedge fund opens new positions in FOXA, NWS, NVE, Sells S, HOG, CCL – 13F Flash (F) (Part 6) (Market Realist)
DE Shaw is a New York based $30 billion+ quantitative hedge fund founded in 1988 by David E. Shaw, a former Columbia faculty member. The firm’s primary trading method is systematic and computer-driven. DE Shaw has over 1,000 employees in North America, Europe and Asia, with an international reputation for successful investing based on innovation and strong risk management. The firm started new positions in Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOXA), News Corp (NASDAQ:NWS), NV Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NVE) and sold positions in Sprint Corporation (NYSE:S), Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE:HOG), and Carnival Corporation (NYSE:CCL).
Trial of Senior SAC Capital Portfolio Manager Begins (Wall Street Journal)
As the criminal trial of senior portfolio manager Michael Steinberg begins Tuesday, his defense lawyers are hoping to find a jury that hasn’t heard about the government’s investigation into the hedge-fund giant SAC Capital Advisors LP or its founder Steven A. Cohen. Prosecutors and defense lawyers were expected to start questioning jurors starting Tuesday morning. The number of prospective jurors was larger than typical cases because of the publicity concerns. Mr. Steinberg, who has pleaded not guilty, is the most senior employee at SAC to be indicted for insider trading and is accused of making illegal trades in 2008 and 2009 in shares of technology companies Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) and NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA).
Are Hedge Funds Still Betting on Gold? (Wall St. Cheat Sheet)
Billionaire fund manager John Paulson is known for betting against subprime mortgages during the housing bubble, but he is also a vocal advocate for gold. Last year, he said in a letter to investors, “By the time inflation becomes evident, gold will probably have moved, which implies that now is the time to build a position in gold.” He reaffirmed his belief that gold is a good hedge against inflation over the summer and added exposure to at least one gold miner by the end of the third quarter. As of September 30, his firm, Paulson & Co., held 10.2 million shares of the SPDR Gold Trust (ETF) (NYSEARCA:GLD) — the most popular exchange-traded gold product in the market.
Mario Gabelli, GAMCO Investors Increase Stakes in The Bon-Ton Stores & Ingles Markets (Insider Monkey)
Mario Gabelli and his fund GAMCO Investors, reported in a couple of filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission some bullish moves made into their holdings in The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:BONT), and Ingles Markets, Incorporated (NASDAQ:IMKTA). In The Bon-Ton Stores, GAMCO and Gabelli increased its exposure to over 1.2 million shares of the company, which are equal to 6.94% of the outstanding common stock of the company. Out of this position, GAMCO holds 637,397 shares, which represent an increase from 626,500 disclosed by the fund in its latest 13F.
Icahn didn’t say anything new: Pro (CNBC.com)
Hedge Fund Helmed By Ex-South Korea SWF Chief Shuts (FINalternatives)
The hedge fund run by former Korea Investment Corp. chief Guan Ong will close its doors, rather than face increased market volatility, it said today. Ong told Reuters that he would shut his Blue Rice Investment Management and return client capital by the end of the year. The Singapore-based credit specialist currently manages less than US$100 million across two funds. “The world is going to be a bit more volatile,” Ong told Reuters. “The way our funds are structured, we kind of feel that it’s best for us to return investors’ [capital] when investors are still up.”
Jewish Tycoons William Ackman and Dan Loeb in Vicious Feud Over Herbalife (Jewish Daily Forward)
It’s a financial dogfight for the ages. When billionaire investor and CEO of Pershing Square Capital hedge fund William Ackman short-sold $1 billion in stock of Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), the Los Angeles-based nutrition company, he drew the ire not just of the company, but of other fellow hedge funders who saw Ackman as taking his legendary arrogance too far. Herbalife’s CEO Michael Johnson has taken particular issue with these claims, calling it a “bogus accusation” while accusing Ackman of manipulating the market, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. Ackman has made himself a string of enemies, including Dan Loeb, the founder of Third Point LLC Hedge Fund, who has subsequently bought a large position in Herbalife, betting on its long term viability.
Hedge funds bet on Penney turnaround (Fort Worth Business Press)
J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) has attracted the attention of some top hedge funds as the retailer struggles to turn itself around. Shares of the troubled retailer have risen 35% over the past month, bouncing off their lowest levels in 33 years. The rebound comes near the end of a brutal year for the company. J.C. Penney shares are down more than 50% in 2013, making it the worst performing stock in the S&P 500. Bill Ackman, a long-time investor in J.C. Penney and a supporter of ousted CEO Ron Johnson, cut his losses in August. But the company has recently received backing from some other high-profile hedge fund managers, including George Soros and David Tepper of the hedge fund Appaloosa Management.
Ratings Agencies Sued For Bear Hedge Fund Collapse (FINalternatives)
A lawsuit accusing the three major credit-ratings agencies of playing fast-and-loose with their grades for two Bear Stearns hedge funds whose collapse presaged the financial crisis has come more than six years after their fall. The liquidators for the Bear Stearns High-Grade Structured Credit Fund and a more highly-levered sister fund filed their fraud complaint against Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s last week. Geoff Varga and Mark Longbottom in July indicated that the lawsuit would be coming with a summons and notice. Those filings came before the six-year anniversary of the funds’ collapse, which cost investors some $1.6 billion and contributed to the bank’s eventual fall, after which such claims would be barred.
Galleon Founder Raj Rajaratnam’s Insider Trading Conviction Stands (IBTimes.co.uk)
A federal appeals court in the US refused to re-examine the conviction of Galleon Group hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam, the highest ranking financial executive to be convicted in a multi-year federal crackdown on insider trading. The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York rejected Rajaratnam’s request to reconsider his May 2011 conviction by a Manhattan federal jury. The hedge fund manager was found guilty on nine counts of securities fraud and five counts of conspiracy. The 2nd Circuit did not provide a reason for its 18 November decision, reported Reuters. Rajaratnam, serving an 11-year prison sentence, could now request the US Supreme Court to review his conviction.