Hedge Fund News: Carl Icahn, Jim Rogers, BarclayHedge

ICAHN CAPITAL LPIcahn boost Motricity stake (TotalTele)
Activist investor Carl Icahn and affiliates reported a boosted 31% stake in Motricity Inc. after exercising subscription rights to acquire more equity, sending the mobile Internet services company’s stock up after hours. Shares climbed 5.7% to 44 cents after hours. Through the close, the stock has fallen 54% since the start of the year. Motricity sells software that helps wireless carriers deliver digital content to their customers. The company last year disclosed it had hired an adviser to help it weigh strategic changes and would borrow roughly $20 million from High River Limited Partnership, an entity owned by Mr. Icahn.

Mourant Ozannes wins HFMWeek US Client Service Award 2012 (IFCFeed)
Mourant Ozannes has been awarded the ‘Best Offshore Law Firm – Client Service Award’ at the HFMWeek US Hedge Fund Services Awards 2012. This follows the firm winning the same client service accolade in both the US and Europe in 2011. The winners of the US awards, which were announced at a ceremony held in New York on Thursday 18 October, were recognised for outstanding performance from June 2011 to July 2012. Mourant Ozannes funds partner Julian Fletcher from the firm’s Cayman Islands office collected the award on behalf of the funds team. The awards featured a number of categories that spanned the best and most cutting edge hedge fund service providers in the US marketplace, including the onshore and offshore legal, administration, accountancy, advisory, insurance and technology sectors.

Hedge fund assets surged to new record in Q3 by +3.6% to $2.19tln says HFR: hedge fund news, week 42 (Opalesque)
In the week-ending 19 October, 2012, China private equity firm SAIF Partners revealed plans to launch a Greater China hedge fund; Amundi launched Amundi Funds Absolute Volatility Arbitrage Plus; and Morgan Stanley and SLJ Macro Partners launched a new fund under its Irish UCITS umbrella called the MS SLJ Macro UCITS Fund. Hong Kong hedge fund Ardon Capital was seeded by a European family office and launched a new Asia-focused fund. RoundKeep Capital Advisors said it would close its hedge fund amid a dearth of investment opportunities for the money manager.

IMQubator believes emerging hedge fund managers are better placed to generate premium returns (Opalesque)
Early stage managers are better positioned to benefit from current market conditions, according to Jeroen Tielman, CEO and Founder of IMQubator, a multi-strategy hedge fund incubation platform. Citing a new report from PerTrac, Impact of Size and Age on Hedge Fund Performance: 1996 – 2011, Tielman said small funds with assets of less than $100m have outperformed large funds (those with assets of over $500m) in 13 out of the last 16 years. In addition, young funds (those started within the previous two years) had cumulative returns of 827% since 1996, well beyond the 350% posted by funds in operation for more than four years.

AIMA calls for depositary passport in UCITS V position paper (Opalesque)
The Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA), the global hedge fund association, has called for the establishment of a UCITS (Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities) depositary “passport” regime in its Position Paper on the proposal for a UCITS V Directive. AIMA said that institutions authorised by one European Union country to act as a UCITS depositary should be granted automatic rights to provide the same services throughout the EU. Currently, the Directive limits the provision of depositary services to funds located in the same Member State as the depositary institution.

1,504 hedge fund advisers have registered with SEC since passage of Dodd-Frank (Opalesque)
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reported on Friday that the number of advisers to hedge funds and other private funds that have registered with the agency since the Dodd-Frank Act required mandatory registration in 2010, has reached 1,504. This brings the total number of advisers to one or more private funds who are now registered with the SEC to 4,061, including the 2,557 advisers who had previously registered. SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro said in a statement, “Prior to the Dodd-Frank Act, regulators only saw a slice of the pie but didn’t know how big the pie even was. The law enables regulators to better protect investors by providing a more comprehensive view of who’s out there and what they’re doing.”

Weschler Rise From Grace Leads to Role Advising Buffett (BusinessWeek)
Ted Weschler’s first job after college was at chemical maker W.R. Grace & Co. (NYSE:GRA) In 2007, six years after the company filed for bankruptcy, his hedge fund held 15 percent of the shares. That’s when he called Joe Rice. Rice, a South Carolina lawyer, represented workers who claimed asbestos products manufactured by Grace had caused cancer and other illnesses. The 158-year-old company, which once owned (GRA) shipping lines and restaurants, declared bankruptcy in 2001 under the weight of those lawsuits (GRA). Rice was at an impasse with the firm when Weschler suggested they meet.

Akin Gump’s Hedge Fund Practice Honored at HFM Awards (LawFuel)
Akin Gump won the “Best onshore law firm client service” category at the HFM US Hedge Fund Services Awards held on October 18. These awards recognize companies that “have outperformed their peer group over the course of 2011/12.” The winners will have demonstrated financial progress (revenue and profit), growth (client numbers, internal hires and geographic expansion), client satisfaction, genuine product innovation and adaptability in the face of factors such as client demands and new regulation.

Wells Fargo responds to rise of credit funds (AsianInvestor)
Hedge fund managers are increasingly relying on administrators rather than prime brokers for financing through repurchase agreements (repos) amid recent growth in credit strategies in Asia, observes Wells Fargo. Christopher Kundro, senior vice-president and co-head of the US bank’s global funds services division, notes that over the past six months he has seen more long/short hedging strategies in Asia expanding out of equities into credit. In response his team recently hired a hedge fund admin sales executive, Johnson Har, based in Hong Kong – the firm’s first marketing exec in Asia outside of its 40-strong Singapore hub – and it started offering services from the city this August.

Hedge Fund Research (LiveTradingNews)
The BarclayHedge Databases are a most versatile suite of products. Every module can be downloaded and stored on your computer as an Excel spreadsheet or Microsoft Access Database. BarclayHedge are continually adding new funds that are included in each update. The Global Database, Hedge Fund Database, Fund of Funds Database, and Managed Futures (CTA) Database are all updated twice monthly and available for download at your convenience. By month-end, 90% of the manager’s have posted updated information. Each of these particular modules track 104 fields of information, and can be easily sorted or filtered to show only the information that is relevant to you.

Goldman to face hedge fund lawsuit (WAToday)
WALL Street titan Goldman Sachs will have to defend claims that it deliberately sold toxic subprime mortgages to an Australian hedge fund in 2007 as the US housing market began to unravel. The New York Supreme Court has denied Goldman Sachs’ bid to dismiss the $1.07 billion class action, which alleges fraud, unjust enrichment and negligence in connection to its sale of toxic mortgage-linked securities to Basis Yield Alpha Fund Master (BYAFM) in 2007.

Sard Verbinnen Tops New Ranking Of Hedge Fund Advisors (HolmesReport)
Sard Verbinnen, Abernathy MacGregor and Kekst and Company—three firms industry observers are used to seeing at the top of the mergers and acquisitions advisory rankings—are also the three biggest advisors to the hedge fund industry, according to a new study from Absolute Return, a provider of hedge fund news and intelligence. Absolute Return’s ranking found Sard Verbinnen providing counsel to funds that manage $153.38 billion in assets, followed by Abernathy MacGregory ($103.86 billion) and Kekst ($90.42 billion). Prosek Partners (the former CJP Communications) and ASC Advisors rounded out the top five, followed by Brunswick Group, Rubenstein Associates, Edelman, Walek & Associates and RLM Finsbury.

Argentina Is Evacuating A Navy Ship Seized In Ghana By A Hedge Fund (BusinessInsider)
Argentina (AP) — Argentina announced the immediate evacuation Saturday of about 300 crew members from the ARA Libertad, a navy training ship seized in Africa nearly three weeks ago as collateral for unpaid bonds dating from the South American nation’s economic crisis a decade ago. Only the captain and a few other members of the crew of 326 sailors will remain on the three-masted tall ship, a symbol of Argentina’s navy.

Soros buys €3m stake in Irish fat-buster (Independent)
Legendary billionaire financier and serial investor George Soros has bought a €3m stake in the Irish “fat busting” drug company Amarin through his investment vehicle, Soros Fund Management LLC. Mr Soros is best known as the “man who broke the Bank of England” after landing a spectacular trading coup when sterling devalued in 1992. New filings show that over the summer, Mr Soros picked up 300,000 shares in the Nasdaq listed Irish firm. Last July, Amarin received US regulatory approval to sell its Vascepa treatment to lower fat levels in blood. The drug is based on Omega 3 fish oils and trials have shown that it has had a marked effect on fatty deposit levels in blood.

Why a Farm is a Good Investment in an Entitlement Society (DailyReckoning)
‘Asia has a big advantage,’ said our old friend Marc Faber, at the Halkin conference in London. ‘It doesn’t have the same entitlement culture of the developed countries.’ ‘Entitlement culture…’ He was talking about zombies. People who take, but don’t give. Parasites on the productive economy. Of course, zombies come in all shapes and sizes. Many are decent people…who work hard… do their best. They’ve been forced… or seduced…into zombiedom, often without realising it. Here’s a note we found in our inbox yesterday. The writer explains why there are so many troubled zombies in the Midwest. They are zombies because they depend on government subsidies and giveaways for their money.

Jim Rogers: The Agriculture Sector Will Boom In The Coming Years (ETFDailyNews)
“It’s unavoidable” says Jim Rogers of a coming recession. He notes that roughly every four to six years has seen an economic slowdown in the U.S., and that 2013 and 2014 will be no exception to that rule. For months now, Rogers has been warning investors that our culminating debt issues and a sluggish economy will lead to a recession that is even worse than that of 2008. He has continually told investors to be very worried and to prepare themselves, but unlike most others who predict a doomsday-like scenario, Rogers has given advice on how to prepare yourself [for more economic news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].

New ETF Uses Market Neutral Strategy (ETFTrends)
Exchange traded funds that replicate hedge fund strategies are catching investors attention as a new market-neutral tool launched earlier this month. Emulating a hedge fund strategy is something researchers have been trying to accomplish, with the latest ETFs using “factor replication.” “Market Neutral is one of the largest hedge fund investment styles, both in terms of the number of funds and in the amount of assets being put to work,”Adam Patti, IndexIQ CEO, said. “After incubating the index underlying QMN for four years, we felt it was an excellent time to roll out this strategy, particularly given the volatility and uncertainty inherent in today’s market environment.

Netflix’s global march puts investors on pause (Reuters)
Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) launched its subscription video service in 49 countries in a little more than a year, a push that has left Wall Street analysts wondering if the company is trying to expand its reach too quickly. Last week, the Los Gatos, California-based company began offering on-demand movies and TV shows in Scandinavia, a region Chief Executive Reed Hastings called a battleground for television delivered over the Internet. The company competes there with premium cable network HBO, which is starting to sell online subscriptions to its programs.

Murdoch eyes LA Times, Chicago Tribune (Reuters)
News Corp(NASDAQ:NWS) Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch is looking to buy the Los Angeles Times, one of the country’s largest newspapers, from struggling media conglomerate Tribune Co, the newspaper reported on Friday. Murdoch is also eyeing the Chicago Tribune, whose publisher Tribune Co is now trying to exit bankruptcy, according to the paper. News Corp executives are in early talks with Tribune Co debtholders, including hedge fund Oaktree Capital. The company wants to secure footholds in Los Angeles and Chicago, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Stringing ’em along (NYPost)
Roy Niederhoffer has been a hedge fund manager for almost 20 years — but the nerdy investor is probably just as well known in Manhattan social circles for his love of music. A patron of the arts and an accomplished musician, the 46-year-old investor is scheduled to play violin next Saturday with the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony. He might want to buff up his musical resumé — the hedge fund he is running hasn’t made a dime since 2008 when it had a spectacular 51 percent gain. Since then, roughly $1.1 billion has been lost to poor investments. The firm now has only $484 million, according to a recent report to investors.

Is Greg Smith Believable? (NYTimes)
Should Goldman Sachs care about Greg Smith’s book? While “Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story” does not contain any explosive accusations of wrongdoing, it does lay bare at least one man’s view of how the firm’s culture went haywire over the last decade. The believability of his story could have a long-term effect on the firm and its ability to recruit and retain new talent. Mr. Smith’s book is being released on Monday and was the subject of a segment on “60 Minutes” on Sunday night. On that program, Mr. Smith said Goldman, like other firms, started several years ago to use client information to bet with its own money, sometimes against its own clients. Getting an unsophisticated client, he said, became the “golden prize” because the “quickest way to make money on Wall Street is to take the most sophisticated product and try to sell it to the least sophisticated client.”

Oxford endowment chief attacks Carlyle, private equity over fees (PIOnline)
Oxford University’s investment chief attacked private equity funds’ charges, saying firms such as Carlyle Group LP are more interested in collecting fees for managing money than generating top returns for their backers. Larger firms are focused on gathering assets rather than beating the 8% minimum annual return fund managers must exceed to receive their share of investment profits, or carried interest, Sandra Robertson, who oversees £1.5 billion ($2.4 billion), said at a conference in London Thursday. She spoke after Carlyle co-founder William Conway said his firm will keep its so-called hurdle rate at 8% even as the industry’s returns are likely to be poor for years.