Hedge Fund News: Boaz Weinstein, Russell Wasendorf, Twitter

HF Manager Buys NYC Pad (HedgeFund)
New York City’s Fifth Avenue has a new resident from the hedge fund world. Bloomberg reported that Boaz Weinstein of New York-based hedge fund Saba Capital Management has bought an apartment overlooking Central Park for $25.5 million, about 6% more than the asking price. The apartment was listed for sale in March for $24 million.


Futures Executive Is Arrested After Admitting Fraud (NYTimes)
A prominent futures-industry executive was arrested on Friday after confessing to embezzling from clients and defrauding banks over nearly two decades. Russell Wasendorf Sr., the chief executive of the futures brokerage firm Peregrine Financial Group, admitted that he stole more than $100 million from his customers, prosecutors say. The formal charges, brought by federal prosecutors in Iowa, accuse him of lying to government regulators.

Obama Says Focus On Romney’s Bain Experience Appropriate (Bloomberg)
President Barack Obama said Mitt Romney’s record at the private-equity firm Bain Capital LLC deserves scrutiny because the Republican is basing his campaign on the premise “I’m Mister Fix-It on the economy.” “If you’re the head of a large private-equity firm, or hedge fund, your job is to make money,” Obama said in an interview that aired today on “CBS This Morning.” “It’s not to create jobs.”

Fortress’s Drawbridge Special Opportunities Fund Named “Best Distressed Hedge Fund” by Hedge Funds Review (MarketWatch)
Fortress Investment Group’s FIG +3.87% Drawbridge Special Opportunities Fund was recognized as “Best Distressed Hedge Fund” at the Hedge Funds Review First Annual Americas Awards. The awards recognize “hedge funds that have generated best in class returns for investors,” with winners selected by an independent panel of judges based on both quantitative and qualitative analyses. Fortress’s Drawbridge Special Opportunities Funds, launched in 2002, invest globally in diversified portfolios of undervalued and distressed investments. The firm’s Credit team of over 350 professionals manages over $12 billion on behalf of institutional investors and private clients worldwide.

Decosimo Provides Leadership For National Hedge Fund Investment & Operations Boot Camp Course (Chattanoogan)
Decosimo, a Top 100 accounting and business advisory firm, will be lending its leadership for hedge fund education targeting hedge fund investors and management teams. Decosimo is providing support as the lead sponsor and Principal Karl J. Jordan, CPA, CGMA, will chair the Hedge Fund Investment & Operations Boot Camp courses hosted by the Financial Research Associates (FRA) July 30-31 at New York City’s Princeton Club. Additionally, Elizabeth Powell, CPA, a tax manager with Decosimo’s Financial Services Group, will be presenting “The ABCs Hedge Fund Tax” at the event.

Tribune Co. gets OK for bankruptcy-exit plan (DailyDemocrat)
Tribune Co. won court approval to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, more than four years after a leveraged buyout left the media company with unsustainable debt. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Carey in Wilmington, Del., on Friday overruled outstanding objections by various creditors to the plan, which leaves Tribune in the hands of a new ownership group led by hedge fund Oaktree Capital Management, JPMorgan Chase and Angelo, Gordon & Co., a firm that invests in troubled companies. Carey said that once final revisions to the plan are made, he will confirm it.

Hedge fund! Mr Bushe offers to sculpt hedges in return for a donation to charity that cares for his sister (IslingtonTribune)
A GREEN-FINGERED topiary expert from Finsbury Park is offering to cut hedges into any shape to raise money for a charity that cares for his sister who has Down’s syndrome. Architect Tim Bushe, who has already created some stunning designs out of hedges close to where he lives, is offering to design and shape any suitable hedge to order for £100, which he will donate to Hft (Home Farm Trust), a charity that cares for his sister Martha, 47.

Billionaire David E. Shaw’s 5 Dividend Picks (SeekingAlpha)
David Elliot Shaw (D. E. Shaw) founded his hedge fund firm, D.E. Shaw & Co., in 1988. His firm applies a quantitative methodology that attempts to benefit from “subtle anomalies affecting the prices of various securities.” Many of the fund’s selections are short-term picks, although the fund holds a number of long-term positions. Lately, the firm has expanded the use of “qualitative techniques” to identify profitable investments. These techniques rely on human research to identify fundamentally attractive financial instruments, private equity ventures, debt financing for both profitable companies and those in distress, and so on. D.E. Shaw & Co.’s funds have been successful. Its Oculus fund returned as much as 19.9% net of fees in 2011, while Composite fund produced a 6.2% return net of fees.

Will Twitter Ever Be Able To Predict The Stock Market? (BuzzFeed)
A hedge fund just found out the hard way, we can’t predict the stock market with Twitter just yet. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try. In October of 2010, a paper came out in the Journal of Computational Science that claimed to be able to predict the stock market with Twitter. There was more to it than that, of course, but the bottom line was a claim to 87% accuracy in predicting day-to-day movement in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, with nothing more than an endless sea of tweets. If true, it was a billion dollar finding (trillion? gajillion?), enough to launch a whole generation of hedge funds, all courtesy of an Illinois computer scientist named Johan Bollen.

UTIMCO puts $3 billion with managers in quarter (PIOnline)
University of Texas Investment Management Co. invested or committed a total of $2.995 billion of endowment assets to new and existing external money managers in the three months ended May 31, according to an investment transaction report presented at a board meeting on Wednesday. UTIMCO’s largest single investments and commitments in the quarter ended May 31 were $400 million to fixed-income manager Colchester Global Investors and $150 million to natural resources manager The Mitchell Group.

RBC Hedge Index down 0.35% in June (+1.89% YTD) (Opalesque)
RBC Capital Markets today reported that for the month of June 2012 the RBC Hedge 250 Index® had a net return of -0.35 per cent. This brings the year-to-date return of the Index to 1.89 per cent. These returns are estimated and will be finalized by the middle of next month. The return for May 2012 has been finalized at -1.09 per cent. The RBC Hedge 250 Index is a non-investable benchmark of the performance of the hedge fund industry. The Index operates in accordance with a unique construction methodology. The Universe on which the Index is based currently consists of 4,229 hedge funds (excludes funds of hedge funds) with aggregate assets under management of $1.039 trillion.

Copper Traders Most Bearish In Six Weeks On Demand: Commodities (Bloomberg)
Copper traders are the most bearish in six weeks on concern demand will slow in China, Europe and the U.S. at a time when hedge funds are betting on lower prices. Thirteen analysts surveyed by Bloomberg said they expect prices to drop next week and nine were bullish. A further six were neutral, making the proportion of bears the highest since June 1. Speculators have been wagering on a price drop since May and held a net-short position of 1,749 contacts on July 3, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show.

Bringin’ Sexy PAC, Raptors for Jesus, and America’s Super Campaign Finance Joke (USNews)
The son of liberal financier George Soros, who has publicly denounced super PACs, will soon create a super PAC aimed at fighting the influence of super PACs, the Washington Post reported yesterday. “We openly acknowledge the irony of being a super PAC trying to address money in politics,” Jonathan Soros said in an interview in with the Post.

Chris Fitzsimon column: No progress in merger (JournalNow)
The bewildering events surrounding the merger of Progress Energy and Duke Energy Corp. continue to make national headlines and provide some of the most ridiculous quotes in years. New CEO Jim Rogers told state regulators that it is true that the two companies promised that former Progress chief Bill Johnson would be the new company’s CEO, but they didn’t promise how long he would run things. His reign at the top lasted all of 20 minutes, and then he was relieved of his duties and received his $44 million severance package. It’s as if the key figures in the deal were 5-year-olds on the playground making promises with their fingers crossed behind their backs.

Finger-pointing over DNC fundraising aimed at Jim Rogers (BizJournals)
With reports surfacing left and right that fundraising for the Democratic National Convention is falling short of organizers’ goal, with only two months to go until show time, fingers have started wagging over who is to blame. Some of those fingers are pointing at Jim Rogers, the Duke Energy Corp. chief executive who helped bring the convention to Charlotte in the first place, according to The Washington Post. DNC boosters had hoped Rogers’ connections would bring a windfall of donations.

Carl Icahn Buys More Navistar (NASDAQ)
Carl Icahn , activist investor of Icahn Enterprises, added 11.12%, or 1,787,388 shares of Navistar International Corp. ( NAV ) at between $22 and $23 per share on July 11. After the transactions, he owns 9,038,814 shares, or 13.19% of the company. Navistar International is a holding company of military vehicle, diesel engine, RV, bus, and other vehicle-related businesses. Icahn initiated a position in the company in the third quarter of 2011 buying 1,765,647 shares at an average price of $44. In the fourth quarter of 2011, he added 5,485,779 shares at an average price of $38.50. In the current second quarter he has been adding shares more aggressively, with four new buys in a little over a month.

Linklaters, Kaufman Dolowich, McKenna: Business Of Law (Bloomberg)
Linklaters LLP corporate partners David Holdsworth and Shane Griffin advised Dentsu Inc. (4324), the 111- year-old Japanese advertising company, on its purchase of Britain’s Aegis Group Plc (AGS) in a 3.16 billion-pound ($4.9 billion) deal to create a global media and marketing network to challenge WPP Plc. (WPP) Slaughter and May’s Roland Turnill led the deal on behalf of Aegis. Competition partner Michael Rowe, pensions and employment partner Jonathan Fenn and financing partner Miranda Leung assisted.

Seychelles exchange on the drawing board (MarketWatch)
The Seychellois government has issued a license to establish the country’s first-ever exchange operator, called Trop-X Ltd. Trop-X can now push ahead with plans to build a multi-asset, multi-currency securities exchange, which is expected to begin operating later this year. Pierre Laporte, finance, trade, and investment minister in the Seychelles, said in a statement: “The launch of the stock exchange in Seychelles is much awaited. It will be an important milestone toward the modernisation of our financial system and our economy as a whole.”

SEC Staff Publishes Final Report on Work Plan for Global Accounting Standards (SEC)
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Chief Accountant today published its final staff report on the Work Plan related to global accounting standards. The Commission directed the staff in February 2010 to develop and execute the work plan. The Commission issued a statement at the time indicating that the information obtained through the Work Plan would aid the Commission in evaluating the implications of incorporating International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) into the financial reporting system for U.S. companies.

Falcon Edge hits $1.2 billion, rounds out team with former 360 Global, Iridian veterans (AbsoluteReturn-Alpha)
Falcon Edge Capital, the long-gestating hedge fund from former Blue Ridge Capital Management partner Rick Gerson, began trading this month with a team rounded out by veterans of 360 Global Capital, which liquidated in October, and Iridian Asset Management, which closed its largest hedge fund in January, according to people familiar with the fund. Enrique “Rick” Abeyta is on board as a consultant in an investment role, his first gig since his 360 Global hedge fund liquidated. His Falcon Edge position could become permanent, according to a person familiar with the firm’s plans. Before 360, Abeyta co-founded Stadia Capital in November 2000….

Canadian Fund Manager Appeals Fine (HedgeFund)
A hedge fund manager is fighting a $1 million fine levied by a Canadian regulator. Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail reported that Otto Spork has appealed an order handed down by the Ontario Securities Commission.

Seamless knows what you want for lunch (Fortune)
Seamless knows a lot about the way we eat. For example: Investment bankers order more sushi while hedge funders prefer deli options — roast beef sandwiches and the like. On rainy days, people order more Greek food. And hamburgers have it over hotdogs anytime. Seamless customers ordered eight burgers for every dog last year. This kind of rich data has accumulated in troves over the past few years as Seamless has transformed itself from a meal service for corporate types working overtime to a restaurant delivery service linking more than 10,000 restaurants to hungry diners in more than 50 U.S. cities and London.