Hedge Fund News: Eddie Lampert, Bill Ackman & Defending Steve Cohen

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Sears may separate Lands’ End, Auto Center businesses (Reuters)
Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ:SHLD) is considering separating its Lands’ End clothing and Sears Auto Center businesses into independently managed operations as part of its turnaround plan, after another quarter of declining same-store sales. The company, headed by hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert, said on Tuesday same-store sales for the 12-weeks ended Oct. 26 fell 3.7 percent. Sears said it expects to post a net loss of between $532 million and $582 million for the third quarter ending Nov. 2. Sears’ sales have declined since 2005 as the company battles intense competition from Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT), Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).


High Five for Largest Hedge Fund Start-ups (WSJ)
Only 86 European offshore hedge funds launched in 2012, according to trade magazine EuroHedge, the lowest number of new funds since the data provider began tracking the industry in 2000. Barriers to entry have risen, and on top of this, last year managers also had the euro-zone sovereign debt crisis to grapple with, making investors uncertain and risk-averse. Despite the record low number of launches, those that did take off were bigger. The average size of new funds was more than $100 million, compared with less than $50 million 10 years ago, according to EuroHedge.

Signia Wealth Names New Hedge Fund Head (Finalternatives)
Signia Wealth has snagged an Amundi Asset Management executive to lead its hedge fund effort. Michael Rosenthal was named head of hedge fund investment at the London-based firm. He joins from Amundi, where he spent 10 years, most recently as co-head of hedge fund investment and head of the French firm’s London office. “Michael is widely recognized as a leading expert in his field and we are extremely pleased to welcome him on board,” Signia CEO Nathalie Dauriac-Stoebe said.

Fleckenstein Says Last Stand Will Be ‘Shooting Fish In A Barrel’ (Finalternatives)
William Fleckenstein’s upcoming return to short-selling will be his swan song. The Fleckenstein Capital manager elaborated on his plans for his RTM 2.0 fund, which is set to debut early next year, five years after he shuttered his last short-only hedge fund, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. And he made clear that there would be no RTM 3.0. “This is going to be my last, quote-unquote, campaign,” the 60-year-old said, noting that his wife was “remarkably subdued” when he told her he planned to go back into shorting. And since its his final battle, so to speak, he’s hoping to amass a lot of firepower before launching his attack.

Anthony Scaramucci Went On Such An Epic Rant Defending Steve Cohen That CNBC Delayed Its Commercial Break (Businessinsider)
Skybridge Capital’s Anthony “Mooch” Scaramucci went on an epic rant this afternoon on CNBC’s “Fast Money” after the news broke that SAC Capital and U.S. prosecutors could reach a settlement deal in the coming days. Scaramucci has been a vocal supporter of embattled billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen. Cohen’s Stamford, Connecticut-based SAC Capital has been criminally charged for insider trading. SAC was charged with four counts of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud. SAC could face a possible fine north of $1 billion and have to admit guilt.

Cerberus Starts Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities Hedge Fund (BusinessWeek)
Cerberus Capital Management LP, the $20 billion New York-based firm focused on distressed assets, started a fund to invest in commercial mortgage debt, according to a letter to investors obtained by Bloomberg News. The Cerberus CMBS Opportunities Fund, which began Oct. 7, can bet on and against senior and subordinated commercial mortgage-backed securities, interest-only securities, commercial real estate collateralized-debt obligations and mezzanine loans, according to the letter. The “new issue market has grown steadily since 2009 with 2013 issuance ahead of last year’s pace,” the firm wrote.

Awaiting SAC Capital’s settlement (CNBC)

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