Hedge Fund News: Carl Icahn, Chris Hohn, Equinix Inc (EQIX)

ICAHN CAPITAL LPBlackstone and Icahn enter Dell bidding (The Telegraph)
Both Blackstone and Mr Icahn sent letters to Dell on Friday night, saying they are preparing formal bids, these people said, according to the Financial Times. In its letter to Dell’s special committee on Friday night, Blackstone said it would offer to buy all shares for more than $14.25 a share but did not specify an exact price, according to a person familiar with the situation. Last month, Michael Dell announced he was taking the PC maker he founded private for $24.4bn in a deal with private equity company Silver Lake, for $13.65 a share.

SEC charges Belesis, hedge fund manager with fraud (InvestmentNews)
The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Anastasios “Tommy” Belesis, owner of independent broker-dealer John Thomas Financial Inc., and a Houston-based hedge fund manager with defrauding investors. The regulator said last Friday it found that hedge fund manager George R. Jarkesy Jr. worked closely with Mr. Belesis to launch two hedge funds that raised $30 million from investors, and that as part of the scheme, Mr. Jarkesy led investors to believe that he was solely responsible for investment decisions.

George Osborne in Budget giveaway to Tory donors in the City (Mirror)
Labour has accused George Osborne of looking after his rich friends by giving a huge tax break to hedge fund bosses. The Chancellor used last week’s Budget to scrap the “stamp duty reserve tax”, which is levied on asset management funds. The tax cut will save hedge fund bigwigs a total of £145 million a year, according to Treasury estimates. But Labour MPs last night branded the decision a reward to the Tory multi-millionaires in the City who have pumped cash into the party’s coffers and accused the Chancellor of shunning ordinary people to look after his high-rolling friends.

Norway Becomes Petro-State as Investors Balk at Hidden AAA Risks (Bloomberg)
Norway, home to the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, is betting it can afford to ignore investor outrage. After shocking global credit markets in 2011 by pulling support from the once AAA and now junk-rated lender Eksportfinans ASA, the government unveiled plans in January to cut tariffs on gas transport by 90 percent, sapping income for those funding the venture by as much as $7 billion. Investors are now asking themselves how much risk they’re willing to accept to gain access to western Europe’s biggest oil and gas reserves. And while Norway boasts a stable AAA rating and the world’s smallest default risk, the government’s decision to ride roughshod over investors is starting to resemble actions seen in less stable democracies such as Venezuela and Russia.

Japan Hedge Funds Get Second Look From Investors as Stocks Soar (Bloomberg)
The rally in Japanese stocks since new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to jump-start growth is starting to stir investor interest in hedge funds that invest in Asia’s second-largest economy. Japanese hedge funds returned 11.3 percent from December through February, the best three-month result on record, according to Eurekahedge Pte, as the Bank of Japan’s effort to expand monetary easing weakened the yen and boosted stocks. Overseas investors have stepped up purchases of Japanese equities, including a record net 1.02 trillion yen ($10.6 billion) in the week to March 8, data compiled by the Tokyo Stock Exchange shows.

Hedge funds take commodity bets back to month high from 1-yr low (Reuters)
Hedge funds and other big speculators have taken their bullish bets on U.S. commodities back to a one-month high from a more than a one-year low, data showed on Friday, as they bought gold this week on fears of financial meltdown in Cyprus. Reuters calculations of data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed money managers, made up of hedge funds and other speculators, holding a net-long position of $65.2 billion across 22 commodities for the week to March 19.

Sacramento announces $450 million deal to build basketball arena (Reuters)
Sacramento officials announced on Saturday that they had reached a $450 million deal with private developers to build an entertainment and sports complex they hope will keep the Kings basketball team from leaving town for Seattle. A private investor group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen is seeking to buy the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle. But the National Basketball Association must approve the deal and Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former star with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns, has lined up investors to make a counter offer. That group includes billionaire supermarket mogul Ron Burkle, 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov and Tibco Software Inc. chief executive Vivek Ranadive.

Billionaire Dan Loeb dumps Apple for Equinix (MarketWatch)
At the end of September, billionaire Dan Loeb’s Third Point owned 710,000 shares of Apple after having increased their holdings by 67% during the third quarter of 2012. Over the next three months, however, Loeb and his team dumped all of these shares and had no long position in the company Apple according to their 13F filing for the fourth quarter of the year. Third Point’s biggest position in its portfolio was Yahoo (YHOO), but Loeb didn’t add to this position. The activist hedge fund was adding a number of new stock picks to its portfolio in the fourth quarter while it was selling Apple (AAPL), including News Corp (NWSA) and Morgan Stanley (MS). The biggest buy in the tech sector was its 525,000 shares of Equinix Inc (NASDAQ:EQIX), a $10 billion market-cap data-center-services company.

TCI hedge fund stops payments to linked children’s charity (Financial News)
The Children’s Investment Fund, the hedge fund run by activist investor Chris Hohn, has stopped giving a portion of its fees to the children’s charity run by Hohn’s wife Jamie, according to two people familiar with the situation. The fund stopped making contributions to the foundation during 2012, “mainly because the foundation is large enough,” one of the people said. Hohn set up his firm a decade ago so that it would automatically donate to the charity the profits he might have taken for himself every year: it amounted to about a third of its 1.5% management fee, plus a further 0.5% of assets under management in any year when the fund made a return to investors of more than 11%.

Tough Times For Wall Street’s Titans (Seeking Alpha)
It’s been a bad run the last week for Wall Street Titans. Most notably, two longstanding untouchables, JPMorgan (JPM) chief Jamie Dimon and star hedge fund manager Steven Cohen, are now facing intense scrutiny for their roles in scandals that have resulted in billions of dollars of investor money being lost or pulled from their institutions. As we noted last week, Dimon’s integrity was called into question when a new Senate committee report on the $6 billion “London Whale” trading loss put the focus on his credibility and truthfulness.