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Hedge Fund News: Carl Icahn, John Burbank, George Soros

Icahn Reportedly Looking To Buy Another Energy Company; Shares Spike (CNBC)
Carl Icahn reportedly has his sights set on another energy company, and it’s causing ripples in the market. Through his company CVR Energy, the billionaire investor is preparing a bid for Delek US Holdings, a Brentwood, Tennessee-based refiner, according a report in the New York Post, which cited a source close to the matter. The report sent Delek shares spiking as much as 12.5 percent in early Friday trading, though they were well off their highs an hour into the session. Delek has been getting clobbered this year along with other refiners, with shares falling 32 percent, even more than most of its peers. The industry has suffered under a weakening distribution market and contracting spreads.

Most Popular Stocks Among Hedge Funds

Hedge Fund Manager John Burbank Lays Out Why He’s Investing In Yahoo (Yahoo Finance)
San Francisco-based hedge fund manager John H. Burbank III, the chief investment officer of $4 billion Passport Capital, made a case for why it’s attractive to own Yahoo’s (YHOO) stock. In an investor letter dated August 1 and seen by Yahoo Finance, Burbank said one of the themes in Passport’s portfolio right now is the Chinese consumer and China’s internet. “This year, especially, it has become clearer to us that China has reasonable medium-term control over its macro destiny, and we expect consumption, and particularly demand for dominant internet services, to grow steadily. For context, China’s per capita household consumption is similar to what it was in the U.S. around 1970, which then proceeded to grow at a CAGR of 9% for the next 10 years, 8% for the next 20, and 6% for the next 40.

Soros Said to Seek CIO as Burdick Steps Down After Eight Months (Bloomberg)
Ted Burdick is stepping down as chief investment officer for George Soros’s $25 billion family office after less than a year in the role. Burdick, who had been head of distressed debt and arbitrage groups before his promotion in January, will remain in his current post until a replacement is found and then will return to running a credit portfolio at the firm, according to people familiar with the matter. Soros Fund Management is looking for a CIO candidate with experience in macroeconomic investing, said one of the people, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Michael Vachon, a spokesman for Soros, declined to comment.

The Herbalife Saga Is ‘Far From Over’ (Yahoo Finance)
The Herbalife saga is “far from over,” according to Ted Braun, the director of “Betting On Zero” — a documentary that chronicles hedge fund manager Bill Ackman’s billion-dollar wager against the multilevel marketing company. “If you’re looking at the nature of his accusations — the FTC’s settlement — the court order as well as the complaint — is a resounding endorsement of everything Ackman has been saying over the last three years,” Braun told Yahoo Finance. For more than three-and-a-half years, Ackman, the CEO of $12 billion hedge fund Pershing Square Capital, has been crusading against Herbalife (HLF). In late December 2012, he publicly declared that he was short $1 billion worth of Herbalife and that the stock would go to $0.

Steinhoff Raises Bid For Poundland, Hedge Fund Adds Stake (Reuters)
South African retailer Steinhoff (SNHG.DE) raised its agreed offer for Britain’s Poundland to 610 million pounds ($790 million) and said the revised terms were final, challenging investor Elliott Capital to back the deal or risk its collapse. Poundland’s board had recommended an earlier 597-million-pound offer from Steinhoff, which holds 23.6 percent of the British discounter’s share capital, on July 13. A day later activist U.S. hedge fund Elliott revealed it held 13.2 percent of the company, sending its shares higher on the expectation that Steinhoff would have to sweeten its bid. Elliott has since increased its Poundland holding to 17.5 percent, making it the company’s second largest investor.

Billionaire Bacon Can’t Sue Nygard in N.Y. Over Bahamas Feud (Bloomberg)
Billionaire fund manager Louis Bacon lost another battle in his decade-long feud with Canadian clothing magnate Peter Nygard over their neighboring properties in the Bahamas as a New York judge threw out Bacon’s defamation lawsuit claiming he was forced to flee the island nation. After an appeals court last month upheld the dismissal of claims over most of 135 statements Bacon said were part of Nygard’s harassment campaign, state court Justice Cynthia Kern on Wednesday threw out the rest, saying the case should be heard in the Bahamas because the dispute arose from their relationship as neighbors.

Hedge Funds Face New Blow as $83 Billion Pension Cuts Them Out (Bloomberg)
Danish pension fund PFA says it has found a way to boost returns in a world of ultra-low yields: cut out middle men like hedge fund managers and do it yourself. “Part of our new strategy is to do more investments directly instead of via specialized funds,” said Christian Lage, who helps oversee about $83 billion in pension savings as co-chief investment officer at PFA in Copenhagen. “Fund structures are typically very expensive and as yields have come down, the focus on costs has increased quite remarkably.” Most pension funds and insurers rely on third-party fund managers to handle their investments in alternative assets. With low and negative interest rates weighing on returns, cutting those costs has become more compelling.

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