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Hedge Fund News: Phil Falcone, Louis Hanover & Bridgewater Associates

Phil Falcone may ditch Minnesota Wild for Islanders stake (NYPost)
Minnesota Wild co-owner Phil Falcone might quit his hockey-crazed home state to make a play for the New York Islanders, The Post has learned. If that happens, Falcone would invest in the Islanders alongside friend and fellow Harvard alum Jon Ledecky, who last month led an investor group that purchased a “substantial” minority stake in the NHL franchise, sources said.

HARBINGER

Is menu overload the problem at Olive Garden? (FoodBusinessNews)
For Olive Garden, the chain with unlimited breadsticks and never-ending pasta bowls, a declining performance may be the result of its famous abundance. Too many breadsticks, too much salad dressing and too many menu options were among a list of grievances aired against the casual dining chain in a nearly 300-slide presentation published on Sept. 11 by activist investor Starboard Value LP. The New York-based hedge fund, which owns approximately 8.8% of Olive Garden’s parent company Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI), proposed a comprehensive operational improvement plan for the Orlando-based operator ahead of its annual meeting in October.

Hedge fund Marathon hires new co-head of emerging markets (Reuters)
Hedge fund Marathon Asset Management said on Monday that is beefing up its emerging markets team with two new hires, including Diego Gradowczyk as co-head of emerging markets. At Marathon, which oversees $12.5 billion in assets, Gradowczyk will be a senior managing director and join Gabriel Szpigiel in running the firm’s emerging market investments. Gradowczyk comes from Barclays, where he worked since 2001, and was most recently the group’s head of emerging markets trading. Marathon, founded by Bruce Richards and Louis Hanover 16 years ago, has been in the news in the last years in part because it was one of a small number of firms picked by the U.S. government to help revive the mortgage-bond market after the financial crisis.

Hedgies Rock Out For Children’s Charity (Finalternatives)
It’s that time of year again—when hedgies trade in their spreadsheets for guitars and rock out for a good cause. The 11th annual Hedge Fund Roctoberfest, a charity concert featuring industry professionals, happens Wednesday, October 22, on 130 Bowery in New York City. As always, proceeds will go to children’s charity A Leg To Stand On, which provides prosthetic limbs and corrective, life-altering surgeries to children with limb disabilities in emerging market countries.

Ackman’s Pershing Square plans $2 billion Amsterdam fund listing (GlobalPost)
Pershing Square Holdings, a fund managed by activist investor Bill Ackman, hopes to raise $2 billion from a listing on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange, the company said in a statement on Monday. The company expects the fund to have a market capitalization of at least $5 billion after the share offering, which will be priced at $25 a share. New York hedge fund manager Ackman, famed for aggressive moves including a $1 billion bet against US nutrition firm Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), is currently engaged in a battle to broker a sale of Botox maker Allergan, Inc. (NYSE:AGN) to Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX).

Pershing plans to go public (CNBC)

Fitch Report On Hedge Fund Reinsurance (HedgeCo)
Fitch reports today that newly formed hedge fund reinsurers are unlikely to achieve an Insurer Financial Strength rating in the ‘A’ category under Fitch Ratings’ methodology. This is due to both general constraints applied to start-up companies, as well as potential unique asset and pricing risks tied to the hedge fund reinsurer business model. Longer term, a hedge fund reinsurer with a successful track record of balancing risks and demonstrating an established business could be rated in the ‘A’ category.

Deals not always the best for funds of funds (PIOnline)
The acquisition spree of the past decade has produced mixed results for acquirers of hedge funds and funds of funds and the firms they bought. Using growth of assets under management to gauge success, full or majority stake hedge fund purchases generally fared better than their hedge funds-of-funds deal counterparts, Pensions & Investments’ analysis showed. J.P. Morgan Asset Management (JPM)’s 2004 acquisition of hedge fund manager Highbridge Capital Management LLC, for example, has been a big winner, sources said. Highbridge managed $7.3 billion at the time of the acquisition, but that amount has risen to $15.4 billion as of June 30, confirmed Kristen Chambers, a JPMAM spokes-woman, in an e-mail.

Hedge-fund execs invest in indie films for producer credits (NYPost)
Hedge-fund and financial industry execs are investing in independent films to snag producer credits and to go on set and meet the stars. Media Society, an LA-based company launched in 2012, gives wealthy individuals the chance to be part of something glamorous, and make up to a 20 percent annualized return on their investment. It just finished producing with Donna Gigliotti (Oscar-winning producer for “Shakespeare in Love”) “Big Stone Gap” with Ashley Judd, Whoopi Goldberg, Jenna Elfman and Patrick Wilson.

Raise Your Hand if You’d Like to Work for Bridgewater (InstitutionalInvestorsAlpha)
One night back in June 2012, as Raymond Dalio accepted his Money Management Lifetime Achievement Award from Institutional Investor, he talked about how much he enjoyed going into his office. “I work with people I love,” said the CEO and founder of Bridgewater Associates in Westport, Connecticut. That might seem like a strong emotion for a work environment, but then Dalio’s management strategy makes life at Bridgewater somewhat like a tough love-oriented family – or as many observers have termed it, a cult. Who but your family, or your Bridgewater colleagues, would openly criticize the way you function on the job?

Hedge fund prize offers $1 million to cure…aging? (CNBC)
A hedge fund manager is the latest to embark on one of the most ancient of human quests: immortality. 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.”

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