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Hedge Fund News: Bill Ackman, Tom Steyer & Stephen Mandel

Ackman’s Pershing Square L.P. Fund Rose 3.8% Last Month (Wall Street Journal)
While Bill Ackman’s short bet against Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) may get most of the attention, the hedge-fund manager scored big last month thanks in part to his investment in alcoholic-beverage maker BEAM Inc (NYSE:BEAM). Mr. Ackman’s flagship Pershing Square L.P. fund rose 3.8% in January, according to an investor update. The offshore Pershing Square International Ltd. fund gained 4.1%, the update said. The performances far outpaced hedge-fund peers that lost an average of 0.24% in a poor month for stocks, according to the HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index.

PERSHING SQUARE

Keystone foe billionaire Tom Steyer calls for review of ‘defective’ pipeline report (Financial Post)
Billionaire Tom Steyer, a Democratic Party donor and Keystone XL foe, called on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to begin a review of the “defective” environmental analysis on the pipeline released last week. The final environmental impact statement on Keystone “has suffered from a process that raises serious questions about the integrity of the document,” Steyer, who hosted President Barack Obama at his San Francisco home in April, wrote to Kerry yesterday in a letter. Steyer is the former chief executive officer of the hedge fund Farallon Capital Management LLC and a major donor to Obama, who is being pressed by Democratic donors to reject the pipeline amid more signs it is headed for approval.

Billionaires Steven Cohen and Stephen Mandel Disclose Huge Stakes in Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc (LL) (Insider Monkey)
In a couple of new filings with the SEC, Stephen Mandel‘s Lone Pine Capital, and SAC Capital Advisors, managed by Steven Cohen, disclosed holding significant positions in Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc (NYSE:LL). Lone Pine has initiated its position in the company and currently holds 2.19 million shares, equal to 7.9% of the stock. SAC Capital reported boosting its stake to 1.39 million shares, which represent 5.0% of the common stock, from 60,144 shares owned by the fund previously.

Succession exposes risks for hedge funds (Financial Times)
“As we age, time becomes our most precious commodity.” So wrote Robert Karr, one of the “Tiger cub” hedge fund managers to have learnt their craft at Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management, who decided last week that he would shut down his $5bn fund, Joho Capital. Mr Karr told outside investors that he wanted to spend more time with his teenage children before they went off to college, and wanted to “try new recipes” with his wife Suzanne.

US Hedge Fund Hayman Capital Bets on Argentine Bonds Despite Default Risk (International Business Times UK)
Hedge fund manager Kyle Bass believes investors can still profit by lending to Argentina, Latin America’s third-largest economy. Bass does not think Argentina’s $475bn (£291bn, €351bn) economy will burden creditors with losses an eighth time. Bass, who purchased Argentine bonds at 55 cents on the dollar in 2013, has no plans to sell them. He profited by betting against US mortgages in 2007. However, global investors say there is an 86% chance that Argentina will quit paying in the next five years.

Billionaire Hedge Fund Manager Marc Lasry Bought A $US33 Million Penthouse In The ‘Ghostbusters’ Building (Business Insider Australia)
Billionaire hedge fund manager Marc Lasry purchased the famed penthouse at 55 Central Park West last week, the New York Times reported. Lasry, who runs Avenue Capital, paid $US33 million for the Upper West Side co-op. The listing price had been $US35 million. The 55 Central Park West building is famous for its role in “Ghostbusters.” We can expect that Lasry will have a great time decorating this place for Halloween.

Japan: Hedge fund trade in trouble (CNBC)


Companies fight back against hedge funds (CNNMoney)
As activist investors intensify their efforts to shake up large firms, a new alliance has formed to hit back at the Carl Icahns and Dan Loebs of the world. On Monday, a group of directors and long-term shareholders of publicly-traded companies launched the Shareholder Director Exchange. The move is intended to counter the growing influence of activist hedge fund managers, whose strategy is to buy stakes in companies and then aggressively push for change. The Shareholder Director Exchange, or SDX, includes independent directors from such companies as The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD) and Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:HTZ), along with representatives from large long-term investors like BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) and Vanguard. But activist hedge fund managers, who often times openly clash with corporate boards, were left out of the group.

Hedge-Fund Firm Exis Capital to Shut Down (Wall Street Journal)
New York hedge-fund firm Exis Capital Management Inc., run by prominent art collector Adam Sender, is shutting down following poor performance last year, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Founded by Mr. Sender, an early employee of SAC Capital Advisors LP, the 16-year-old Exis once managed more than $1 billion but managed only about $75 million at the end of last year. The firm lost 5.1% last year, according to a fund document. Exis’ investment strategy was to bet on the direction of instruments experiencing volatility, such as U.S. stocks, oil or gold.

Arden offers second fund where Main Street can try hedge funds (Reuters)
Arden Asset Management, which has been offering retail clients at Fidelity a way to sample hedge funds for more than a year, is branching out with a second mutual fund that will give other brokerage customers similar access to top hedge fund managers. Arden, which manages $6.1 billion for pensions and large institutional clients, launched its Arden Alternative Strategies II fund this week, a little over a year after rolling out a similar fund with mutual fund giant Fidelity. For as little as $1,000, investors will be able to gain access to hedge fund industry powerhouse firms D.E. Shaw Investment ManagementYork Capital ManagementCQS (US) and eight other fund firms, regulatory documents show. Arden plans to cap fees at 1.99 percent.

Hedge Fund Chief Makes a Lonely Bet Against Portugal’s Debt (New York Times)
David Salanic cuts a lonely figure among the Manhattan power brokers eating breakfast at the Loews Regency Hotel restaurant on Park Avenue. Sure, he runs a hedge fund, but with $50 million, his fund may represent a year of commissions for some of the heavy hitters in the room. None of the big shots stopped by his table either, and the hostess, having messed up his table reservation, was not at all rattled by the snafu. Still, while he may not bring with him the buzz of billionaire hedge fund moguls like Daniel S. Loeb and William A. Ackman, Mr. Salanic, the chief executive of Tortus Capital, has his own target — Portugal — and it is bigger in size than any of the major corporations that have come under attack by his larger peers.