Hedge Fund News: Louis Bacon, John Paulson, Barclays

MOORE GLOBAL INVESTMENTSMoore Capital founder to protect more land (PIOnline)
Hedge fund manager Louis Bacon has promised to donate the largest single conservation easement in U.S. history to form the foundation of the proposed Sangre de Cristo conservation area in Colorado and New Mexico. Mr. Bacon is the founder of Moore Capital Management LP, New York, which manages about $15 billion in global macro trading strategies.

Paulson tries to bounce back (PIOnline)
Paulson & Co. Inc. is on track to survive a reversal of fortune that sources say very few other hedge fund managers could withstand. Assets declined $17 billion — 44.9% — to $21 billion as of June 30, down from a peak of $38.1 billion in February 2011. Much of the loss is the result of poor performance over the past year of the New York-based company’s flagship Advantage event-driven arbitrage strategy, although there have been modest investor redemptions, sources said.

Ackman Protege Ferguson To Leave Pershing To Start Fund (Bloomberg)
Bill Ackman, the hedge-fund manager who is pressing for changes at Procter & Gamble Co., is losing the first analyst he hired for his Pershing Square Capital Management LP, according to a letter to investors. Scott Ferguson, now a partner at Pershing Square, will leave by the end of the month to start a hedge fund that will use an activist strategy similar to Ackman’s, the letter said. The fund, which will conduct value-oriented research and push for changes at companies, plans to open next year, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

Hatteras Funds Announces Five-City “Meet The Managers” Forum (MarketWatch)
Hatteras Funds (“Hatteras”), a boutique alternative investment specialist providing unique alternative investment solutions for financial advisors and their clients, will host a series of forums across the U.S. for financial advisors, home office research teams and consultants to meet the underlying hedge fund managers of the Hatteras Alternative Mutual Funds (Alpha Hedged Strategies Fund, Long/Short Equity Fund, and Long/Short Debt Fund). Stemming from the success of a similar forum hosted in 2011 by Hatteras in New York City, the 2012 forums will visit five cities in September. The series is being held in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the Hatteras Alpha Hedged Strategies Fund (ALPHX), which will celebrate a decade of managing alternative investment strategies in a daily liquid mutual fund.

Second long-short hedge fund launches on Entrepreneur Partners’ platform (HedgeWeek)
Entrepreneur Partners has launched its second long/short hedge fund on its platform, the Trias L/S Fund. The fund will apply macroeconomic and fundamental stock analysis to a universe of liquid German, Austrian and Swiss companies.

Maples Fund Services Provides Consolidated Risk Reporting for SBCERA (DigitalJournal)
Maples Fund Services’ consolidated risk reporting will enhance the ability of SBCERA’s investment team to actively monitor and manage investment strategies and portfolio risk. Since 2009, SBCERA and Maples Fund Services have been working together on the operation of an $800 million bespoke hedge fund managed accounts program. As part of its outsourced administration services, Maples Fund Services provides an online dashboard and set of analytical reports that enables the SBCERA investment team to actively monitor hedge fund managers that have discretion over assets within the program.

Hedge Fund Places Faith in Euro Zone (NYTimes)
While other Wall Streeters who supported President Obama in 2008 are rushing to distance themselves from the White House, Mr. Lasry remains one of the president’s most loyal backers. He loaded up on Ford Motor bonds in late 2008 and early 2009 when it seemed that the company might join Chrysler and General Motors in bankruptcy, and made a bundle when it did not.

Vale, MMX Drop As Iron-Ore Prices Hit 8-Month Low (Bloomberg)
Vale SA (VALE5), the world’s largest iron- ore producer, dropped the most in more than four months as prices for the steelmaking raw material fell to the lowest since November. MMX Mineracao & Metalicos SA, the mining company controlled by Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista, also slumped. Vale, based in Rio de Janeiro, lost 2.7 percent to 36.87 reais at 11:43 a.m. in Sao Paulo today after dropping earlier as much as 4.3 percent, the most intraday since March 6. MMX declined 6 percent to 5.17 reais, heading toward its lowest close this month. Brazil’s Bovespa benchmark index dropped 3.3 percent.

Bold moves pay off for 36One (IOL)
Two unit trust funds managed by a boutique unit trust and hedge fund manager that is not scared to deviate from the benchmark emerged as the leaders among their peers over the three years to the end of June. 36One Asset Management manages the 36One Flexible Opportunity Fund, which was the top-performing fund in the domestic asset allocation sector over three years, with an annual average return of 29.9 percent over that period.

Simon Lack Couldn’t Be More Wrong, Here’s Why Hedge Fund Diversification Is Smart (BusinessInsider)
My industry colleague Simon Lack has recently been demonizing hedge funds with a recently published book and ongoing blog campaign. Recently, he called the idea of a diversified hedge fund portfolio “stupid,” a comment I simply cannot take sitting down. To claim that investing in a diversified basket of hedge funds is no better than investing in passively managed combination of indexed equities and Treasury bills is not only irresponsible, but is cherry picking at its worst. Mr. Lack should know this as a registered investment advisor.

3 Louisiana pension funds fear big losses from $100 million in investments (NOLA)
Robert Rust won’t forget his trip to New York in December. Rust, the administrative director of the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System, was part of a group of officials from three Louisiana pension funds who made the 1,500-mile trek to meet with executives from Fletcher Asset Management, a New York hedge-fund firm with which they had invested a combined $100 million in 2008. For months, Rust and other pension officials had been locked in negotiations with the hedge fund’s manager, prominent Wall Street investor Alphonse “Buddy” Fletcher Jr., after requests made to Fletcher to cash out tens of millions of dollars in holdings were met with promissory notes instead.

Billionaire Robertson sees Netflix turnaround (MarketWatch)
Legendary trader Julian Robertson is betting on a turnaround at Netflix NFLX -3.40% . Based on 13F filings, Tiger Management initiated a new position in the on-line streaming movie business during the 1st quarter. According to the SEC report, Mr. Robertson purchased 80,300 shares valued at $9.2 million. Several of Mr. Robertson’s trading mentees, nicknamed the Tiger Cubs, have also been buying shares of the troubled company. John Griffin at Blue Ridge Capital and Philippe Laffont at Coatue Management each owned a $272 million and $144 million stake respectively.

Major Tory donor forced to repay £2million after investing in tax-dodge scheme favoured by footballers and city banks (DailyMail)
One of the Tory party’s biggest donors has been ordered to pay back millions of pounds in tax after a judge ruled against an offshore scheme he had used to slash his bills. The judge said a Guernsey-based trust set up by hedge fund boss George Robinson, one of the City’s highest-paid financiers, was ‘cosmetic’ and told him and three colleagues to pay the taxman £13?million.

Dan Morain: Lungren-Bera race likely to be a PAC battlefield (SacBee)
Jonathan Soros, son of hedge fund billionaire George Soros, is about to meet casino mogul Sheldon Adelson in a smackdown over the Sacramento-area congressional seat held by Republican Dan Lungren. Soros, 42, is a Harvard-educated lawyer who helps run the family business and has inherited some of the old man’s liberal politics.

Ion Torrent vies for $10 million genome prize (Reuters)
A genome-sequencing contest announced six years ago finally has its first entrant: Life Technologies Corp.‘s Ion Torrent, which on Monday said it was entering the fray. The Archon Genomics X Prize will award $10 million to the first team that sequences the complete genomes of 100 people aged 100 or older in 30 days or less, for no more than $1,000 each, and with an error rate of no more than 0.0001 percent.

Rogers: Why Hendry and Edwards are wrong on China (InvestmentWeek)
Jim Rogers has dismissed fears of a hard landing in China, saying slowing growth is simply proof the authorities are managing the economy as they intended. Rogers’ bullish views on China’s long-term economic prospects place him at odds with well-known China bears Hugh Hendry of Eclectica and SocGen’s Albert Edwards.

Roma Goes Moneyball As Owners Tap Nedved Mentor In Overhaul (Bloomberg)
Zdenek Zeman, who’s made tenfold returns by unearthing undervalued soccer players, is scouting for talent again as AS Roma’s U.S. owners ask the veteran Czech coach to clean house in their second season at the Italian team. Boston-based Thomas DiBenedetto and hedge-fund manager James Pallotta, who bought the world’s 17th-richest club last August, are paying down debt and trimming Roma’s 80 million-euro ($98 million) payroll to set it on an even keel after years of overspending. They’re counting on Zeman’s eye for a bargain as they swap pricey players for promising youngsters and build a global brand to challenge giants such as Barcelona.

For brokers like Peregrine, from bad times to worse (Reuters)
Long before Peregrine Financial Group’s dramatic collapse last week, months before MF Global’s meltdown triggered an industry-wide crisis of confidence, the world of the independently owned futures broker was not a happy one. Even as trading volumes handled by these relatively small futures commission merchants (FCM) boomed over the past decade, profits were dwindling: electronic trading, the rise of the hedge fund and rapid-fire algorithmic trader, and the slump in interest rates had upended their century-old business model.

H-P’s Air Farce (WSJ)
Let’s say you’ve been named chief executive of Hewlett-Packard. This isn’t a stretch. The computer maker changes CEOs every year or so as its business declines. Your job is to cut $3 billion to $3.5 billion in annual costs. This includes cutting 27,000 jobs. Suddenly, you spot a department that generates tens of millions in annual operating costs. It is H-P’s private air force—seven Gulfstream Vs, among the priciest corporate jets on the planet. The question you face seems simple enough: Do you need all seven? But then you didn’t go to Harvard Business School like H-P’s latest CEO Meg Whitman. You have not been properly trained to realize that this amazing fleet could be yours.

Emanagers Total Index up 0.9% in June (+2.84% YTD) (Opalesque)
Emerging manager hedge funds and managed futures funds had a strong month of June, according to a first estimation based on the data of 304 funds listed in Opalesque Solutions’ Emanagers database. The Emanagers Total Index gained 0.9% last month and is up 2.84% for the year 2012. Estimates for May and April were corrected to -0.42% and -0.75% respectively. Since inception in January 2009, the index posted compounded returns of 61.3% and outperformed both the global stock market and hedge fund indexes.

Russia Direct Investment Fund makes second investment into Moscow Exchange MICEX-RTS (Opalesque)
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is a $10 billion fund established by the Russian government to make equity investments primarily in the Russian economy. The fund, which is in essence, the first sovereign wealth fund that functions as a private equity fund, announced its second investment in the MICEX-RTS exchange, in a transaction that will increase the funds stake to 2.7%. The transaction was completed as a joint effort between RDIF and US-based, private equity firm Cartesian Capital Management. Cartesian will now own approximately 2.5% of the Moscow Exchange. The stakes were purchased from ZAO UniCredit Bank, based in Russia. UniCredit will still maintain a 6% stake in the exchange following the transaction.

Cnooc to Acquire Nexen for $15 Billion (NYTimes)
On Monday, Cnooc, the Chinese state-run oil giant, agreed to buy Nexen of Canada for $15 billion, as global players look to beef up their access to natural resources. Under the terms of the deal, Cnooc will pay $27.50 a share for the Canadian oil and natural gas company. The price is 61 percent above Nexen’s closing price on Friday. Cnooc has also offered to buy Nexen’s preferred shares for about $25.58 each, as well as accrued dividends, pending approval by that class of investors.

Cerberus mortgage chief: Investment opportunity a “perfect storm” (Absolutereturn-Alpha)
Mortgage investing is one of the hottest hedge fund strategies, with dedicated funds launching and large multistrats allocating in large numbers. Fittingly, it has been the best performing strategy in the industry so far this year: hedge funds that employ an MBS strategy are up an average of 6.43% through June, according the AR database. That compares to a composite return across all strategies of 2.65%. AR asked Josh Weintraub, head of RMBS securities and trading at Steve Feinberg’s $20 billion Cerberus Capital Management, to discuss the firm’s approach to RMBS investing and opportunities in the market. Weintraub—who will be speaking at the upcoming Absolute Return Symposium—directs the Cerberus RMBS Opportunities Fund, which has grown to $1.17 billion as of July 1 after launching in August 2011 with $188 million. The fund is up 7.79% net of fees for the year through June, according to…

Duo rows to aid breast cancer fight (PIOnline)
Hedge fund marketer Nick Rees and his good friend, Ed Curtis, will row across the Atlantic starting in December 2013 to raise £250,000 ($386,633) for Breakthrough Breast Cancer, a London charity that supports research and treatment breakthroughs. Team Breakthrough Atlantic will participate in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge race from La Gomera, Canary Islands, to English Harbor, Antigua. The daring duo will make the 2,600 nautical-mile journey without external support over about three months.

Bharara Says Insider Cases Build Market Confidence (Finalternatives)
Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, has a message for hedge fund managers who think he’s picking on their industry: Like green vegetables, his prosecutions of hedge fund fraud are good for you. Bharara told the Delivering Alpha Conference last week that such efforts build confidence among investors.

Senior Barclays Official Rules Himself Out as Next Chairman (NYTimes)
Barclays may find it tough to replace its top executives, as it continues to deal with the fallout from a rate-manipulation scandal. Michael Rake, the British bank’s deputy chairman, has ruled himself out as the next chairman, according to a regulatory filing on Monday.

Spain Joins Italy in Reinstating Short-Selling Ban (HedgeWorld)
Spain and Italy reintroduced bans on short selling on Monday [July 23] to discourage speculative trading after stock markets fell steeply in response to fears that Spain might need a full-blown bailout. The two countries had both banned short-selling last year, but they had lifted the bans in February. …Short-selling is a common way for hedge funds and other investors to bet on falling share prices. Traders borrow stocks to sell them in the hope of scooping them up later at a lower price and pocketing the difference.

New hedge fund launches: never mind the quantity, feel the quality (HedgeFundIntelligence)
If – as they say – the night is darkest before the dawn, then the results of the latest EuroHedge half-year new fund survey should indicate that the European hedge fund industry’s post-crisis new-launch trough must be somewhere near its bottom. The first-half 2012 survey by the EuroHedge data and research team presents a stark picture of a new-fund-launching environment in Europe beset by market volatility, by regulatory uncertainty, by investor caution and by escalating business…