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Hedge Fund News: Edward Lampert, George Soros & Bill Ackman

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ESL Gives Sears $400 Million Lifeline (Finalternatives)
Hedge fund ESL Investments has loaned $400 million to its largest investment, Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ:SHLD), a cash infusion that will keep the struggling retailer afloat through the holiday season. Affiliates of ESL, whose founder, Edward Lampert, serves as Sears’ CEO, made the loan, which is due on Dec. 31 and is secured by 25 of Sears’ properties. The loan can be extended until the end of February. The financing was needed after Sears burned through nearly $1 billion over the past six months.

ESL INVESTMENTS

Calpers set to leave hedge funds (ManilastandardToday)
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System plans to divest the entire $4 billion that it invested with hedge funds, saying they’re too expensive and complex. The decision to eliminate 24 hedge funds and six hedge fund-of-funds, is not related to the performance of the program, interim chief investment officer Ted Eliopoulos said Monday. The board of the $298-billion pension, known as Calpers, has not decided where to invest the money after the pullout, which will take about a year, he said.

Hedge fund manager offers $1m for ‘immortality’ (HereIsTheCity)
Joon Yun, president of $1 billion health care-focused Palo Alto Investors, announced a new prize last week that will award $1 million to researchers who can “hack the code of life and cure aging.” “The current health care system is doing a remarkable job addressing the diseases of aging,” Yun, also a trained doctor, said in a statement. “However, doing so without solving the underlying process of aging produces escalating effects on health care spending. We need a paradigmatic revolution. The aim of the prize is to catalyze that revolution.”

George Soros Gives $4 Million To Ebola Treatment Facilities (JewishBusinessNews)
Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners in Health, noticed something different about the recent Ebola breakout from others… George Soros’s Open Society Foundation donated $4 million to Farmer’s project to treat and lessen the cases of Ebola. Chris Stone, the organization’s president, said, “The coalition got us a proposal the next day, they answered all our questions the day after, and we got them the funds they needed before the week was out.”

Back Off, Hedge Fund: Olive Garden Says It Doesn’t Need Advice (BusinessWeek)
It took four days for Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) to reply to a sweeping condemnation of just about every facet of its flagship Olive Garden chain by the major shareholders at an activist hedge fund. But perhaps the delay is understandable: Starboard Value’s revival plan (pdf), which concerned itself with breadstick waste and unsalted pasta, weighed in at nearly 300 pages. Darden’s reply (pdf), at just 24 pages, argues that the fixes to the Olive Garden’s woes are already under way.

End of ‘costly’ hedge fund trend? (CNBC)

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