Hedge Fund News: Crispin Odey, Peter Kolchinsky & T Boone Pickens

Manchester United Divides Hedge Funds’ Loyalties (WSJ)
Some of Europe’s most powerful hedge fund managers are sharply divided on the outlook for English soccer club Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU) -0.17%, whose share price has declined recently along with its on-field performance. One of the most prominent to hold a negative bet is U.K.-based Odey Asset Management, which is headed by investor Crispin Odey and runs around $12.2 billion. It has been betting on the share price’s falling since shortly after the initial public offering of Manchester United in 2012 and says the shares are overvalued.

Crispin Odey

Farmers Sue Hedge Fund Over Guar (Finalternatives)
A group of Texas farmers has sued a New York hedge fund, accusing it of defrauding them. The guar growers filed five countersuits against Scopia Capital Management, alleging that the hedge fund and West Texas Guar conspired to not pay the 285 farmers for their crop last year. Scopia is West Texas Guar’s top shareholder, and alleges that the company failed to repay a $6 million loan made in 2012. West Texas Guar has since filed for bankruptcy. A federal bankruptcy judge in May approved a settlement granting the farmers 75% of their claims.

BlackRock Hedge Selector Reports Net Asset Value Per Share Drop (ISE)
BlackRock Hedge Selector Ltd Thursday said its UK Emerging Companies Share Class net asset value fell by 7.7% over the six months to end-June, including all ongoing expenses with ongoing charges of approximately 0.8% per year, reflecting the underlying performance of the UK Emerging Companies Hedge Fund, which fell by 7.3%. The company’s share price fell by 5.4% over the same period. The FTSE 100 Index, meanwhile, rose by 1.9% over the period, the FTSE Small Cap Index increased by 1.5% and the FTSE All-Share Index by 1.6%. In contrast, the Numis Smaller Companies plus AIM (excluding investment companies) Index fell by 0.8% and the FTSE 250 Index remained flat, the company said.

Hedge funds buying Yahoo stocks ahead of Alibaba IPO (Opalesque)
Several hedge funds are buying large shares of Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) ahead of the planned initial public offering (IPO) of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Ken Sawyer, managing director of Saints Capital, said that Yahoo, which owns 23% of Alibaba and is a public investor of the Chinese website, has placed a discount on whether a holding company is worth the sum of the value of its parts. Sawyer was quoted by USA Today as saying, “Some guys think there might be 15% or 20% in Yahoo, if Alibaba’s investment bankers can sell the offering at the top of its range or — as Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)‘s did — even higher. It’s an (arbitrage) play between public and private markets.”

Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ACHN): RA Capital Management Cuts Stake To 19.0% From 21.1% (InsiderMonkey)
RA Capital Management, led by Peter Kolchinsky, disclosed in a newly amended filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it further reduced its exposure to Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACHN). The filling showed that the hedge fund unloaded around 2.71 million shares of Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACHN). Following the sale, RA Capital owns 18.54 million shares of the company, the stake being equal to 19.0% of common stock outstanding.

Hedge Fund To Add Member To American Apparel Board (Finalternatives)
Lion Capital Management may not be an investor in American Apparel Inc (NYSEMKT:APP) anymore, but it still wants a seat on its board. The hedge fund, which pushed the struggling retailer into a cash crunch last month when it called in a $10 million loan, still owns warrants to take a 12% stake in the company—and the right to appoint two board members. And it told the firm that it plans to appoint former Rupari Food Services CEO Robert Mintz to join the seven other directors of the newly-reconstituted board.

Top picks at US open (CNBC)

Hedge fund reinsurers ‘not a new business model’, says A.M. Best (Artemis)
The hedge fund backed reinsurance mode which seeks to leverage premium inflows as investment capital in hedge fund strategies in an attempt to outperform on the asset-side, is not treated as a new business model by rating agency A.M. Best. The hedge fund reinsurer, typically formed by or in cooperation with hedge fund type asset managers, often underwrites lower volatility or higher layer reinsurance business in order to treat the premium float as long-term capital to be invested in more active or aggressive investment strategies.

Indian hedge funds fare best globally thanks to PM Modi… Blackstone in talks to back distressed fund… (HedgeWeek)
The funds investing in the South Asian nation have returned 26 per cent this year through July, according to Eurekahedge Pte. That compares with an average 3.5 per cent gain for those investing in Asia, 1.9 per cent for Greater China, 1.2 per cent for Japan, 3.8 per cent for North America and 1.1 per cent for Europe, the Singapore-based data provider said. India-focused hedge funds, with a sixth of the USD16.5 billion in assets of those investing in Japan, are set for the strongest return in five years after Modi secured the nation’s largest election victory since 1984 in May. The prime minister has pledged to restore economic growth, rein in inflation and the budget deficit, as well as revive stalled projects to boost investor confidence.

Fuel conversion efforts get kudos (ClarionLedger)
Businessman and natural gas advocate T. Boone Pickens recently recognized Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE:WM)’s company-wide efforts to convert 10 percent of its fleet from diesel to clean burning compressed natural gas. Waste Management’s CNG conversion has grown from 400 trucks in 2007 to more than 3,200 today, which accounts for approximately 10 percent of its total fleet. The company plans to convert a minimum of 80 percent of its North American service fleet to alternative fuels by 2020.

Illinois Teachers maps out 2015 real estate, hedge fund deployments (PIOnline)
Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System, Springfield, plans to deploy a total of at least $1 billion with real estate and hedge fund managers in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015. Trustees of the $45.3 billion pension fund approved the 2015 tactical investment plans for the $5.6 billion real estate portfolio and the $2.6 billion hedge fund portfolio as presented by investment staff at a board meeting Tuesday. The real estate tactical plan calls for total new investment of $850 million in fiscal 2015 — $550 million will go to opportunistic strategies and $300 million to core/value-added approaches. Additional opportunistic real estate managers will be sought.

AllianceBernstein Continues Liquid Alts Push With New Fund (HedgeCo)
AllianceBernstein is no stranger to alternative investments – the firm overseas and manages $18 billion in alternative investment strategies, $4 billion of which is in liquid alternatives. In 2010, the firm purchased the alternative investment business of SunAmerica, which added a team of experienced hedge fund and private equity staff to the firm’s ranks, along with several billion dollars of new alternative assets to manage. One outgrowth of bringing on the new team, which is led by Marc Gamsin, is the development of new alternative mutual fund products for the firm.

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