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Hedge Fund News: John Paulson, Tim Hortons Inc. (USA) (THI), CNO Financial Group Inc (CNO)

Editor’s Note: Related tickers: Tim Hortons Inc. (USA) (NYSE:THI), Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE), CNO Financial Group Inc (NYSE:CNO), Health Management Associates Inc (NYSE:HMA), Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL)

PAULSON & COHedge fund guru Paulson cashes in on CNO Financial bet (IBJ)
John Paulson, who made $15 billion betting against real estate and then saw his fortune shrink as gold slumped, is proving to be an effective insurance investor. Paulson’s hedge fund has more than doubled its money on Carmel-based CNO Financial Group Inc (NYSE:CNO), the life insurer he helped recapitalize in 2009. Paulson & Co. can realize more gains when warrants it received become exercisable this month at about half CNO Financial Group Inc (NYSE:CNO)’s current share price. …The fund “took a lot of risk and reaped a lot of reward” on CNO Financial Group Inc (NYSE:CNO), said Randy Binner, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets. “To say they saved the company is fair.”

Australian hedge fund industry is teeming with opportunities (Opalesque)
Hedge fund managers who attended the latest Opalesque 2013 Australia Roundtable (sponsored by Eurex and Australian Fund Monitors) agreed that the Australian hedge fund industry is teeming with opportunities across several strategies. They discussed event driven and activist opportunities further, as well as current opportunities (also for retail investors) coming from domestic banks and lower interest rates. John Corr of Aurora Funds Management Group and manager of the Aurora Fortitude Absolute Return Fund, when discussing recent developments in the Australian hedge fund industry, said listed hybrids issued by Australian domestic banks have very attractive buyer terms which retail investors are selling in the short term to fund some new issues that are less attractive.

California Hedge Fund Association to Hold Fall Symposium at HedgeWorld West (PRWeb)
The latest installment of one of the nation’s leading hedge fund conferences, HedgeWorld West, will take place October 7-9, 2013 at the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, CA, this year in partnership with the California Hedge Fund Association (CHFA). HedgeWorld West is part of the PartnerConnect series of alternative assets events which collectively bring together over 1,000 investors and managers from across the alternatives industry including hedge, private equity, and venture capital funds. For the first time, the CHFA, a rapidly growing organization with over 650 members, will partner with HedgeWorld to present a wide-ranging discussion on issues affecting hedge funds today.

U.S. hedge fund asks Tim Hortons to raise debt levels, buy back shares (TheRecord)
Another round of pressure is being placed on Tim Hortons Inc. (USA) (NYSE:THI) by significant shareholder Scout Capital Management, which wants the coffee and doughnut store operator to revamp its U.S. expansion plans and to raise debt levels to buy back shares. …Scout Capital praised Tim Hortons Inc. (USA) (NYSE:THI) as a “wonderful business” with an iconic brand and unparalleled customer loyalty in Canada, but said its returns to shareholders can be dramatically improved. The fund said it believed the company’s free cash flow could be doubled to $4.50 per share by 2015, which should result in the stock’s price rising to the range of $90 to $112. Tim Hortons Inc. (USA) (NYSE:THI) shares closed at $56.29 Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange, up $1.74 or 3.2 per cent. “Tim Hortons Inc. (USA) (NYSE:THI) is a very stable franchising business which enjoys predictable cash flow streams,” the letter said.

Hedge funds hope losing shorts on U.S. natural gas will pay off (FoxBusiness)
This year’s early rally in U.S. natural gas prices dealt heavy losses to hedge funds that stubbornly maintained short positions in the face of brutally cold weather, and the price slide of the past two months has not yet erased losses that prompted some investors to flee the funds, industry sources say. Sasco Energy, Skylar Capital and Copperwood Energy, funds founded by some of the most prominent names in gas trading, posted losses after misreading winter weather patterns in the first quarter that caused a spike in prices of gas used for heating, said the sources speaking on condition of anonymity.

SAC Probers Weighing ‘Willful Blindness’ Tack (WSJ)
U.S. officials are investigating whether hedge-fund titan Steven A. Cohen purposely avoided learning about alleged criminal activity at his firm and, if so, whether that behavior could form an element of any charges against him, according to people familiar with the matter. The legal tactic is one of many being considered by government investigators as they continue to examine trading patterns at SAC Capital Advisors LP, which was founded by Mr. Cohen in 1992and is one of the most prominent hedge-fund firms in the country. SAC is the subject of a long-running government investigation into alleged insider trading.

More big-name hedge funds nurse wounds from bond sell-off (FirstPost)
One of last year’s top-performing hedge fund managers, Deepak Narula, is suffering a reversal of fortune as the mortgage bonds that steered him to the top of the industry in 2012 are now delivering losses. His Metacapital Management’s roughly $1.5 billion flagship fund was down 5.66 percent for the year through June 14, according to an investor with knowledge of the numbers. The loss is particularly notable given the fund’s 41 percent gain last year. Narula’s fund is just one of many credit-oriented hedge funds that have seen gains posted earlier this year turn into losses in the wake of a ferocious sell-off in bonds sparked by fears the Federal Reserve could pull back from its easy money policies later this year.

Hedge Fund Glenview Capital Wants New Healthcare Board Of Directors (HedgeCo)
Hedge fund Glenview Capital Management LLC, which owns 14.6% of the common stock of Health Management Associates Inc (NYSE:HMA) today (25th) filed a preliminary Consent Solicitation Statement nominating eight industry leading candidates to replace the current Board of Directors. In an open letter to shareholders the company cited “significant room for improvement” and a “deficiency at both the Board and management level” as reasons for the move. Glenview said Health Management Associates Inc (NYSE:HMA) has “completed a lost decade through 2012? and has underperformed its peers over both the near and medium term.

Hedge Fund Finds Buyer for Manhattan’s Landmark Lehman Mansion (BusinessWeek)
A Manhattan mansion owned and restored by hedge fund Zimmer Lucas Capital LLC is under contract more than a year after it was put on the market. The buyer of the five-story townhouse at 7 W. 54th St. is a local firm that paid cash and is seeking to use it as office space, said Carrie Chiang, a residential broker with Corcoran Group who handled the sale. The property was first put on the market last May for $65 million and was relisted in December for $49.9 million. “It’s somebody who wants a signature building to be their office,” Chiang said in an interview, declining to disclose the sale price or the buyer.

Pine River Shorting Sony (Finalternatives)
Pine River Capital Management doesn’t appear to hold out much hope that Third Point’s Daniel Loeb will succeed in his activist campaign to transform Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE). The hedge fund is shorting the electronics giant’s shares, ValueWalk reports. Pine River opened its short before the beginning of the year, months before Loeb bought a large stake in the company and began pushing it to partially spin-off its entertainment division. Shareholder activism has not proven terribly successful in Japan, and Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) seems cool to Loeb’s plans.

Texas hedge fund billionaire seeks California pension reform (Reuters)
Texas hedge fund billionaire John Arnold is taking his campaign to reform America’s public pension systems to California, pension reform groups and a spokesman for his foundation told Reuters. Arnold, the founder of Houston-based hedge fund Centaurus Advisors and a former trader at Enron, the defunct energy company, is looking to fund groups supporting ballot initiatives that would scale back what critics regard as overly lavish public employee pension deals.

O’Neill vs. Faber: Is China Liquidity Crunched? (CNBC)
Market veterans Marc Faber and Jim O’Neill — known as Dr. Doom and Mr. BRIC respectively — posted diametrically opposite views when CNBC asked if the Chinese liquidity crunch was real. Faber, the notoriously bearish author of “Gloom Boom & Report”, said he “completely disagreed” with O’Neill’s view that there was no liquidity shortage in the world’s second largest economy. The Shanghai Composite tumbled below the key 2,000 mark on Monday when the Chinese central bank refrained from pumping funds into the markets in order to ease liquidity concerns. The index pared losses on Tuesday on rumors that the central bank will hold a conference with regulators to address liquidity conditions, but still closed lower.

Carl Icahn Fires Back at Dell Committee (HereIsTheCity)
Last week, the activist investor proposed in a letter to shareholders that Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) undertake a tender offer for 1.1 billion shares at $14 each as an alternative to Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners’ proposal to take the computer maker private. “To me the company seems desperate because they keep obfuscating the facts,” he told CNBC. “They now say the $5.2 billion we are raising will not be enough to pay a tender offer of $14/share. The reason they give is that we will need the money to pay back the Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) debt that’s coming due. However the debt doesn’t come due for a year and a half.”

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