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Hedge Fund News: Seth Klarman, Andrew Hall & Bill Ackman

Baupost up nearly $1 billion on Merck-Idenix deal (CNBC)
Not bad for a single trade: Baupost Group appears to have made nearly $1 billion on just one of its stock picks. Seth Klarman‘s hedge fund firm owns a stake in Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:IDIX), the hepatitis C-focused drug maker that Merck agreed to buy Monday for $3.85 billion, or $24.50 per share. The stock jumped to about $24 a share Monday after closing at $7.23 Friday. Assuming that Baupost still holds the more than 53.3 million shares it disclosed as of March 31, that would mean a paper gain of roughly $900 million. The apparent big profit on Monday slightly underestimates Baupost’s real haul…

BAUPOST GROUP

Hedge fund trim Brent crude bets, slash gasoil net longs-ICE (Reuters)
Hedge funds and other large speculators cut their bets on higher Brent crude oil prices in the week to June 3 and slashed positions in ICE gas oil by more than 40 percent, data from the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) showed on Monday. Brent crude speculators cut their net long positions by 16,420 futures and options contracts to 196,944 in the seven days to June 3, the first reduction in four weeks and only the second cut since the first week of April. Brent crude oil futures fell to $108.82 a barrel over the seven days to June 3 from $110.02 a barrel.

Senior Barclays repo trader signs up to Millennium hedge fund spin-off (eFinancialCareers)
Sarah Hodges (nee Daulby), a senior repo trader who spent over ten years at Barclays, has joined Symmetry Investments, one of the most hotly-tipped Asian hedge fund launches of 2014 from former Millennium Capital Partners executives. Hodges joined Symmetry in London earlier this month as head of fixed income financing, having previously been a director within Barclays’ repo trading team. Feng Guo, a former portfolio manager at Millennium, and Michael Robinson, who was managing director and Asian regional manager at the firm, unveiled plans to launch Symmetry Investments in July last year.

Andy Hall’s fund up 16 pct through May even in lackluster oil market (Reuters)
Oil trader Andy Hall‘s hedge fund firm is up for a fourth straight month for its longest winning streak in three years and in a turnaround from 2013 losses, performance data it released to investors and seen by Reuters showed on Monday. Hall, known for taking bullish long-term bets on the price of oil, has notched big gains despite a relatively range bound oil market lately. His Westport, Connecticut-based fund company, Astenbeck Capital Management LLC, is up nearly 16 percent through May, after a positive showing since February, the data showed. The firm, mostly invested in oil and managing $3.4 billion across three separate funds, finished down about 8 percent last year.

City Tells Owner of 20 Goats To ‘Butt Out’ Of Detroit Neighborhood (CBSLocal)
After butting heads with the city of Detroit, a group seeking to raise goats in the city has apparently given up — for now. It started last week when hedge fund manager Mark Spitznagel brought 20 young goats from his farmstead in Northport, Mich., to the Brightmoor neighborhood of Detroit as part of a plan to promote urban renewal and farming, according to the New York Times. The city objected, and Spitznagel ended up taking his goats and going home. If he hadn’t vacated the pen by noon Monday, the city’s animal control threatened him with a $500 ticket per goat.

The new private equity (CNBC)

Hedge funds target Australand (BusinessSpectator)
Australand Property Group’s receipt of a surprise all-cash takeover offer from Singapore-listed Frasers Centrepoint has prompted hedge funds to pour on to the target’s register and they now account for about 20 per cent of investors. Their interest has been prompted by Australand striking an agreement with Frasers to negotiate a binding deal within four weeks and the promise of the target’s first-half distribution being paid by June 24. JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) analysts have called the Frasers move a potential knockout blow for rival bidder Stockland which, despite holding 19.9 per cent of Australand, is tipped to walk away.

Ackman: My new friend Icahn should sell Herbalife (CNBC)
Bill Ackman has some advice for frenemy Carl Icahn: Sell your Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) stock. Now that he’s made up with Icahn, Ackman told CNBC on Monday he’s trying to get his hedge fund rival to sell Herbalife—a company that Ackman has waged a war against as a “pyramid scheme.” “I’d love to find [Icahn] a way out of Herbalife, because I think if he could get out now he’d have a very nice profit,” Ackman said in a “Squawk Box” interview. But he refused to comment on what Icahn said.

Deutsche Bank Vet Faces Huge Rate-Rigging Fine (Finalternatives)
A hedge fund employee is facing a big fine for allegedly attempting to rig interest rates while at Deutsche Bank AG (USA) (NYSE:DB). The Financial Conduct Authority wants to fine Christian Bittar, who now works for BlueCrest Capital Management in Singapore, £10 million (US$17 million). The levy would be a record for an individual, nearly double the previous high. According to the FCA, Bittar sought to manipulate the euro interbank offered rate as part of a major rate-rigging scandal at top banks. The FCA is planning fines against seven other traders, Bloomberg News reports.

Former Hedge Manager Joel Dobberpuhl Goes Long on Impact Investing (InstitutionalInvestor)
As the manager of the Nashville, Tennessee, hedge fund firm Jetstream Capital, Joel Dobberpuhl spent his days chasing 20 percent returns. During the nine years between the time when he founded and then wound down the firm, his financial pursuits left him comfortably positioned to give back some wealth to society. Dobberpuhl, who is also one of the owners of National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators, is now trying to bridge capitalism and philanthropy. The Dobberpuhl family office invests for impact in cleantech companies, while the Peter Hawkins Dobberpuhl Foundation has pledged $26 million in support of a new investment program spearheaded by the Nature Conservancy, an Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit and one of the world’s largest environmental organizations.

Copper Wagers Cut Most in Month as Metal Leads Losers (Bloomberg)
Hedge funds cut bullish copper bets by the most in a month on concern that a supply surplus will return as demand growth slackens in Europe and China. Money managers trimmed their net-long position by 24 percent to a four-week low. A probe into inventories in China spurred speculation that imports by the biggest consuming nation will drop, while the European Central Bank took unprecedented steps to combat deflation. Barclays PLC (ADR) (NYSE:BCS) anticipates that global supply will outpace demand from the fourth quarter.

Recommended Reading:

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