Hedge Fund News: John Burbank, Julian Robertson, Ray Dalio

PASSPORT CAPITALBlackstone ups bet on Asia hedge fund manager Taylor (Reuters)
Blackstone Group has raised its exposure to former Citadel trader Nick Taylor by putting up another $50 million to co-invest with his Asia-focused hedge fund, sources said, a move that may set the tone for similar deals in the region. Taylor, one of Asia’s well known portfolio managers, launched Senrigan Capital in 2009 with about $150 million, including $100 million in seed capital from Blackstone.

Kroszner, Former Fed Governor, To Join Hedge Fund EQA (WSJ)
A former Federal Reserve governor, Randall Kroszner, will join hedge fund EQA Partners to advise on currency and macroeconomic investments, the Stamford, Conn., fund said Tuesday. Dr. Kroszner joins the $56 million currency and macro hedge fund as a partner and in the newly created position of chief economist, EQA said.

U.S. hedge fund looking for buyer for its $2-billion stake in Telus (Theglobeandmail)
Mason Capital Management LLC has hired Blackstone Group LP to seek a buyer for the $2-billion stake, said a person familiar with the situation. Blackstone bankers are said to have contacted as many as 30 parties around the world who might be interested in the block, including other investment companies, as well as strategic buyers already in the telephone business. The process began in mid-May.

Invest like a hedge fund honcho with the Top Guru Holdings ETF (CNN)
There’s no doubt that hedge funds have had a tough time beating the broader stock market in recent years, but they’ve still got an edge over individual investors when it comes to stock picking. And if that’s your thing, investing like a hedge fund all-star just got easier. The Top Guru Holdings Index ETF (GURU), which began trading Tuesday, invests in the single biggest holding of 68 top hedge funds, including John Paulson’s Paulson & Co., Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management, David Tepper’s Appaloosa Management, David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital and Daniel Loeb’s Third Point.

The Dow Jones Credit Suisse Core Hedge Fund Index Closed Down 1.50% in May (Sacbee)
The Dow Jones Credit Suisse Core Hedge Fund Index closed down 1.50% in May as most of the index component strategies reported negative results for May. The Dow Jones Credit Suisse Core Hedge Fund Index provides daily published index values which seek to enable investors to track the impact of market events on the hedge fund industry.

Luke Ellis – the ex-farmer now growing hedge funds (Telegraph)
Ferraris, Dom Perignon and the Cote d’Azur are the typical trappings of millionaire hedge fund managers. As a rule, pigs don’t get much of a look in. But Luke Ellis, the man many are tipping to be Man Group’s next chief executive, gave it all up for farm animals. He says it was the best decision he ever made. Last month, Ellis oversaw Man’s acquisition of FRM, bringing to the listed hedge fund giant an extra $8bn (£5.2bn) of assets to manage. Ellis helped build FRM, a fund of hedge funds manager, from a $15m business a decade ago to a $15bn firm. But after a decade of high finance, and a veiled ultimatum from his wife, he packed it all in.

Schulte Roth & Zabel Name Two Partners In London Hedge Fund Practice (Finalternatives)
Law firm Schulte Roth & Zabel has named Nicholas Fagge and Kerrie Walsh partners in the firm’s London office. Fagge and Walsh, who both joined the London office when it opened 10 years ago, are part of a team of senior hedge fund lawyers. Fagge advises investment management clients on the structuring of UK management companies, covering all relevant partnership and tax issues, and more widely on UK and international tax issues relating to the taxation of private investment funds, their investors and managers as well as seed capital transactions. Fagge also advises on mergers and acquisitions, including transactions involving managers.

Texas Teachers Taking Alternative Investing to New Risks (Businessweek)
After working for almost two decades as a money manager, Britt Harris at age 45 was what most people would consider a success. Bridgewater Associates LP’s Ray Dalio and Bob Prince had just tapped him to be chief executive officer of the world’s largest hedge fund. A father of four, Harris also found time to coach his kids’ baseball teams and teach Bible classes at his church. Still, something was gnawing at him. “I didn’t sleep for one night,” the Texas native recalls. “I didn’t sleep for a week. Then, after not having slept for three months, I told Bob and Ray I wanted to resign.”

Lampert folds up tent in Greenwich, moves hedge fund to Florida (Greenwichtime)
ESL Investments, the $9 billion private investment fund run by Lampert, the majority stockholder of Sears who Businessweek magazine once profiled as the next Warren Buffett and who became a poster boy for having body guards after a brazen kidnapping, is leaving town. “ESL Investments notified its partners in April that it was relocating to Miami, Florida, effective June 1, 2012,” Steven Lipin, a New York City-based spokesman for the hedge fund, wrote in an email Tuesday night to Greenwich Time.

Hedge fund titan John Paulson buys Aspen ranches for $49 million (Denverpost)
Billionaire financier and hedge fund operator John Paulson is the money behind last week’s purchase of the Hala Ranch in Aspen, a spokesman for Paulson’s firm confirmed today. The $49 million purchase of the opulent 90-acre ranch home, built in 1991 by Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia while he was ambassador to the U.S., includes a smaller adjoining 38-acre ranch, known as Bear Cabin.

SEC Names Two Deputies To Help Lead Hedge Fund Enforcement Unit (Bloomberg)
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s asset management unit has named two new deputies to help manage investigations into possible misconduct at hedge funds and private equity firms. Julie Riewe and Marshall Sprung, who have both worked in the 75-person group since it was formed in 2010, will jointly fill a vacancy left by the departure of a senior attorney announced last week, according to Bruce Karpati, chief of the asset management enforcement group.

You’re fired! Lord Sugar rejects fine wine hedge fund (Investmentweek)
A fine wine hedge fund pitched on BBC programme The Apprentice has been rejected by Lord Alan Sugar for being ‘too risky’. Tom Gearing, a director at fine wine investment firm Cult Wines, appeared in the series finale on Sunday night competing to become Lord Sugar’s business partner and recipient of his £250,000 investment.

Lansdowne Bets on Italian and Greek Stocks as Others Flee (Businessweek)
Lansdowne Partners LP, the largest European hedge fund that invests in stocks, wagered on Greek and Italian stocks in the first four months of the year as the worsening sovereign-debt crisis sent many investors fleeing from the region. The firm used one of its funds to take long positions, or bets that stocks will rise, in Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) SA, the operator of Greece’s biggest port, Thessaloniki Port Authority SA (OLTH), which operates the country’s second-largest harbor, and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA (ISP), Italy’s second-biggest bank, according to a presentation obtained by Bloomberg News. The firm raised its outlook on Europe to “mixed” as of May 1 from bearish three months earlier, London-based Lansdowne said in the presentation.

Connecticut posts RFPs for consultants, hedge fund of funds (Pionline)
Connecticut Retirement Plans & Trust Funds, Hartford, issued RFPs for two consultants, one for real estate and the other for alternatives, and a hedge fund-of-funds manager, according to the state treasurer’s website. Denise Nappier, state treasurer and the principal fiduciary for the $24.7 billion pension system, said in an interview last month that the current consultants, Townsend Group for real estate and NEPC for alternatives, can rebid. The consultants’ contracts expire next year, Townsend’s on Feb. 28 and NEPC’s on May 31.

Facebook to disappear in 5 to 8 years: Analyst (Indiatimes)
The world without Facebook sounds unbelievable, but after its sliding stocks a hedge fund manager has predicted that Facebook will “disappear” in five to eight years. According to Eric Jackson, the founder of Ironfire Capital, said, “In five to eight years they are going to disappear in the way that Yahoo has disappeared.”

Former CQS pro to launch maiden hedge fund next month (HFMWeek)
John Park, formerly a portfolio manager at CQS Investments, will launch his maiden hedge fund next month, HFMWeek has learned. After forming New Jersey-based JPark Capital, the flagship JPark Arbitrage, LP fund will launch with $3-5m combined of internal capital, along with commitments from friends and family. The business is open to exploring seed deals to reach its initial capacity of at least $250m.

Leaked information to Rajaratnam after he taunted me: Kumar (Hindustantimes)
An Indian-American former McKinsey consultant has told a US court that he “committed a crime” by passing on secret information to convicted hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam after the Sri Lankan “chided and taunted” him for not knowing enough about what was happening at various firms. Anil Kumar, 53, is a government witness in the insider trading trial of his mentor and fellow Indian native and ex-Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta.

Burbank Bets On Global Recession With Subprime Conviction (Bloomberg)
In the dozen years that John Burbank has run his $3.4 billion Passport Capital hedge fund, he’s never been as negative on global stocks as he is now. Burbank, 48, expects that the U.S. and much of the rest of the world will slide into a recession, and he’s setting up for that event with a big wager that global stocks will fall. Most of his peers are still betting that stocks, especially those in the U.S., are more likely to rise than decline.

Peregrine figures show South African hedge funds are bucking the trend (Opalesque)
South African based provider of prime services and wealth manager, Peregrine Holdings, has revealed end May estimated returns for their portfolio of South African equity-centric hedge funds, relative to the performance of the market. Peregrine’s Ruth Forssman comments: “Hedge fund returns were flat in a weak month for markets, with market neutral funds returning a credible 0.5%. This performance was sufficient to allow our weighted hedge fund return to open up some outperformance against the broad equity market indices, which suffered a significant pull-back on the month”. South African hedge fund returns, calculated from those funds serviced by Peregrine Securities Prime Services, showed that on an asset weighted, before fees, basis, total equity hedge funds achieved a return of just 0.07%, while specifically long/short equity hedge funds lost 0.02% over May. Market neutral returns in the sector achieved 0.52% returns over the month.

James Caan-backed firm Insynergy IM set to close (Ftadviser)
Insynergy Investment Management (IM), chaired by Dragons’ Den entrepreneur James Caan, is set to shut up shop after roughly four years in business. The fund manager has applied to wind up Insynergy Funds, the Dublin-based umbrella that houses the firm’s four products. It will also shut the funds themselves, including a portfolio run by hedge fund giant Crispin Odey. The moves are subject to approval from regulators, investors and shareholders.

Capstone Investment Advisors closes its flagship hedge fund to new investors (HFMWeek)
Capstone Investment Advisors, the New York-based global volatility hedge fund manager, is closing its flagship hedge fund to new investors this month following firm-wide assets under management reaching $1.9bn, HFMWeek has learned. According to an investor letter dated 10 May, the firm expects to reopen the flagship Capstone Vol (Offshore) fund in the first quarter of 2013.

Ropes & Gray, King & Spalding, Hogan: Business Of Law (Bloomberg)

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP acted as legal adviser to Thomas H. Lee Partners LP, which agreed to buy a majority stake in Party City Corp. from its private-equity owners in a transaction valued at $2.69 billion. Ropes & Gray LLP acted as legal adviser to the current owners, Advent International Corp., Berkshire Partners LLC, Weston Presidio and management, which will hold “significant” minority stakes, Thomas H. Lee said yesterday in a statement. Thomas H. Lee will own about 65 to 66 percent of the company, said a person familiar with the matter who declined to be identified because the details haven’t been made public.

Buffett Sees No U.S. Recession Unless Europe Causes It (Bloomberg)
Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), said he expects the U.S. economy to avoid another recession as long as Europe can contain its debt crisis. There won’t be a recession “unless events in Europe develop in some way that spills over here big-time,” Buffett said yesterday at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. He answered questions from David Rubenstein, co-chief executive officer of Carlyle Group LP (CG), the world’s second-largest private equity firm.

Tiger Infrastructure, Kiewit, Team on Pipelines (WSJ)
Tiger Infrastructure Partners, a private-equity firm founded by a former Treasury official and seeded by billionaire hedge fund investor Julian Robertson and New York’s Ziff family, said it is pairing up with a construction company to invest up to $500 million in pipeline projects. The closely held construction company, Kiewit Corp., and the Tiger firm are counting on continued demand for new natural gas and gas liquids and ways to transport them as energy explorers develop new drilling areas. Technological advances have enabled North American explorers to tap reserves that had been too difficult or expensive to mine, particularly from Canada’s oil sands and U.S. shale formations. The Tiger-Kiewit pact aims to build the pipelines and processing plants for explorers in those new drilling fields.

Discolo: lower returns, difficulty finding alpha likely to push fees lower (Opalesque)
Bob Discolo has been investing in hedge funds for the last 20 years, he now oversees the hedge fund business for US-based PineBridge Investments. PineBridge was formed two years ago after spinning off from AIG Asset Management. The firm now manages approximately $70bn in assets, $3.7bn of which are in hedge funds. Discolo was recently interviewed by Greg de Spoelberch for Opalesque TV. Discolo creates customized hedging solutions for institutional investors and helps them allocate to funds either through customized accounts or consultation. According to Discolo, investors are beginning to get smarter when it comes to understanding the realities of hedge fund investing. He notes that 2008 provided an education for investors on all of the possibilities good and bad that come with investing in hedge funds.

Conifer Group makes layoffs (HFMWeek)
Hedge fund service provider, the Conifer Group has made a number of redundancies this month, HFMWeek has learned. The departures include Alice Sun who held an accounting role; Ian Heim, a prime brokerage account representative; Dave Von Dollen, a client services representative and Elisabeth MacKnight, who worked on special projects.

Citadel Chief’s Wife Launches News Site (Finalternatives)
The wife of Citadel Investment Group founder Kenneth Griffin is set to start a news Web site dedicated to promoting political and fiscal “reform” in the Midwest. Anne Dias Griffin, a hedge fund manager herself, is behind Reboot Illinois. The Web site will aggregate news content and offer some original commentary.