Hedge Fund News: John Paulson, Jim Chanos, Gabriel Bitran

Abydos hedge fund prepares for Iran strike (Reuters)
Abydos Capital, a new hedge fund run by a former partner at one of London’s most high-profile oil investors, is worried about a potential military strike against Iran and plans to use options to protect his portfolio. Jean-Louis Le Mee, Chief Investment Officer of Abydos, told Reuters he thinks there is a 25 to 50 percent chance of an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear capabilities, an act that would likely send stock markets tumbling and drive up oil prices, hitting hedge funds that hadn’t protected their portfolios.

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GLG Hong Kong Managers Said to Plan Own Asia Hedge Fund (Bloomberg)
Kelvin Woo and Joe Zhang are leaving GLG Partners Inc., the London-based hedge fund bought by Man Group Plc (EMG) in 2010, to set up their own Asia-focused macro hedge fund, said four people with knowledge of the matter. The two, both emerging-markets managers based in Hong Kong, may start the fund in July, said the people who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Angela Fung, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for Man, confirmed Zhang’s departure. Woo declined to comment when reached by phone. Woo and Zhang join managers such as former Perry Capital LLC Asia head Alp Ercil and Carl Huttenlocher, who had led Highbridge Capital Management LLC’s regional business, in leaving big global companies to start their own hedge funds.

SEC, Investors Preparing for Hedge Fund Marketing “Free-For-All” (Forbes)
In December 2011, to great media fanfare, John Kinsella, a well-known poet, withdrew his name from consideration for the Poetry Book Society’s prestigious TS Elliot Prize. The reason? That year the prize was sponsored by Aurum Funds, a hedge fund, which donated money when the Society lost its public grant from the British government. As you would expect from a poet, Kinsella was not at a loss for words. He memorably referred to hedge funds as the “very pointy end of capitalism.” Regardless of the dip in performance across the industry in 2011, $67 billion flowed into hedge funds last year, with the overall industry thought to exceed $1.7 trillion. While hedge funds did worse than the leading equities index, the S&P 500, many individual hedge funds did phenomenally well.

Hedge fund slams Fortescue (Brisbane Times)
PROMINENT hedge fund manager and short seller Jim Chanos has singled out Fortescue Metals as a ”value trap” stock, telling a New York conference that shares in billionaire Andrew Forrest’s company will fall ”materially”.In a presentation to Grant’s Spring Conference, a private investment forum, this month, Mr Chanos, the boss of Kynikos Associates, told investors he feared iron ore miner Fortescue had ”a somewhat promotional management team”. He singled out the company headed by billionaire Andrew ”Twiggy” Forrest as the global example of a ”value trap” in the ”iron ore rush”, adding that he was betting against the company.

Hedge Fund Manager RK Capital Planning New Product in Metals (Bloomberg)
RK Capital Management LLP plans to introduce a hedge fund that will bet only on rising metals prices, with a goal of raising as much as $1 billion. The Red Kite Real Return Fund Ltd. will invest in industrial and precious metals and will appeal to investors who look at returns over six to 12 months, David Lilley, co-founder of RK Capital Management, said in an interview in Lausanne, Switzerland, today. The London-based fund will start June 1 and may close to new investors should it reach its maximum target, he said.

Hedge-Fund Titan Pledges $25-Million for Columbia U. Business School (Philanthropy.com)
The billionaire philanthropist Leon Cooperman has donated $25-million to his alma mater, Columbia University, to support construction of a new home for the New York institution’s Graduate School of Business, Forbes reports.

Hedge Fund Vets Form New Global Credit Firm (Hedgefund.net)
Global credit hedge fund firm MeehanCombs may be a new kid on the block but the people behind it are seasoned pros. Eli Combs left his managing director post at $2.6 billion hedge fund Alden Capital on Friday to join industry veterans Matt Meehan and Jim Plohg in forming the Greenwich, Conn.-based firm. Combs will serve as president, Meehan as chief investment officer and portfolio manager, and Plohg as chief operating officer and general counsel.

Sealy Directors Under Hedge-Fund Criticism Lose Votes (Businessweek)
Sealy came under criticism in a March 11 letter from H Partners Management LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that owns 15 percent of the company. H Partners accused KKR of overloading the Trinity, North Carolina-based bedding maker with debt and making strategic errors that reduced its earnings by half. Sealy called the claims “combative” and unconstructive. In a March 23 letter, the company said KKR “has been a responsible partner” and said the board’s composition meets New York Stock Exchange guidelines for independence. Gemma Hart, a spokeswoman for Sealy at Brunswick Group, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Romney Holds Big-Money Fundraiser at N.Y. Billionaire’s Townhouse (TheDailyBeast)
The Republican candidate has accepted donations from controversial hedge-fund billionaire John Paulson, but Thursday night he made their association more explicit by allowing Paulson to host a fundraiser, Ben Jacobs reports.

Sloan prof. and son in hedge fund fraud (MIT)
MIT Sloan School of Management Professor Gabriel Bitran PhD ’75 and his son Marco Bitran ’97 have agreed to pay $4.8 million to settle hedge fund fraud charges brought against them by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the SEC said on Friday. The report stated that the Bitrans, on multiple counts, misrepresented their firms’ historic performance, strategy, and investments to investors and media. In 2005, Gabriel founded GMB Capital Management (GMB Management), stating that the firm would manage hedge funds using the quantitative models he had developed, according to the SEC’s order.