Hedge Fund News: Ted Weschler, Travelodge, Hedge Fund February Redemptions

Berkshire Adds DirectTV, Liberty Media (Bloomberg)

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A) boosted its stake in DirecTV and added holdings of Liberty Media Corp. and DaVita Inc. after billionaire Warren Buffett hired stock picker Ted Weschler to help manage investments. Weschler oversaw investments in all three firms while running Peninsula Capital Advisors LLC, the hedge fund he wound down after agreeing to join Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire.

Warren Buffett

Travelodge Lenders Said to Meet Tomorrow on Debt Restructuring (Bloomberg)

Lenders to Travelodge Ltd. are meeting in London tomorrow about restructuring the U.K. budget hotel chain’s debt, according to two people with knowledge of the situation. Hedge funds Avenue Capital Group LLC and GoldenTree Asset Management LP underwrote a new 60 million-pound ($95 million) loan to the hotel chain, Travelodge said yesterday after the Sunday Times reported the company had six weeks to raise money or face bankruptcy. The New York-based funds are meeting tomorrow with other Travelodge senior lenders, the people said.

Falcone’s LightSquared Withholds $56.3 Million Payment to U.K.’s Inmarsat (Bloomberg)

Philip Falcone’s LightSquared Inc. (SKYT), the U.S. company struggling to gain approval for a wireless service, failed to pay British satellite operator Inmarsat Plc (ISAT) $56.3 million under a spectrum-cooperation accord. Inmarsat issued a notice of default under the companies’ cooperation agreement, giving LightSquared 60 days to remedy the payment, the London-based satellite operator said in a statement today. In a separate statement, LightSquared said that Inmarsat must fulfil certain obligations tied to the deployment of its terrestrial and satellite network and that “several matters” need to be resolved. It didn’t give more details.

Energy Stock Favorites of Hedge Fund Managers (Forbes)

The energy stock buying and selling of the top hedge fund managers in the fourth quarter of 2011 showed heavy selling in oil service names, opportunistic buying in beaten-down value plays, and continued betting on the long-term future of natural gas even as prices remained at a historically low level.

Closures And Losses Push Back Asia Hedge Fund Industry (Reuters)

A rough year for Asian hedge funds in 2011 exposed the long-only bias of many managers’ portfolios, leaving the industry fighting a tough battle to retain clients as assets shrink and fund closures accelerate. The setback puts at risk the industry’s slow recovery since 2008 and highlights the need for the survivors to reinvent themselves in Asia, where lower market turnover makes some of the trading strategies used by hedge funds in the United States and Europe harder to replicate.

Bridgewater Sells Stakes To Institutional Investors (FINalternatives)

Two institutional investors have bought stakes in the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates. The Teacher Retirement System of Texas bought a non-voting stake in Bridgewater for $250 million. The purchase, the first direct investment in an asset manager by the $109 billion public pension, was approved by its board of trustees on Thursday.

Hedge Funds See Positive Start To 2012, Data Shows (HFM Week)

Hedge funds scored a series of positive performances in January with equity-focused strategies doing particularly well to reach five-month highs, according to data published Monday by the Edhec-Risk Institute. By strategy, long/short equity was up 3.36% in January, event driven gained 2.95%, while equity market neutral saw a 1.01% uptick.

Hedge Fund Exit Requests Subdued In February-Data (Reuters)

Investor demands to pull out of hedge funds rose from an all-time low last month but remain at a historically subdued level, data from hedge fund services firm GlobeOp shows, in a sign investors are not deserting the sector despite last year’s mediocre returns. The GlobeOp Forward Redemption Indicator, a monthly snapshot of clients giving notice to withdraw their cash as a percentage of GlobeOp’s assets under administration, was 3.14 percent in February.

Hedge Fund Redemptions Rise In February (FINalternatives)

Hedge fund forward redemptions were up in February 2012—to 3.14% from 1.85%, according to GlobeOp Financial Services. “Seasonally adjusted, February continues the recent trend of very low redemption levels,” said Hans Hufschmid, GlobeOp chief executive officer. Forward redemptions as a percentage of GlobeOp assets under administration have trended significantly lower since reaching a high of 19.27% in November 2008.

Ex-Goldman Analyst Writes White Collar Crime Tale (Thomson Reuters)

“The Darlings” tells a fictional tale about the downfall of a hedge fund and the wealthy family that owns it during Wall Street’s 2008 meltdown, but many aspects of the novel are drawn straight from author Cristina Alger’s reality. As a former Goldman Sachs analyst and bankruptcy attorney at a white-shoe law firm in New York, Alger knew that the twists and turns that led to many a Wall Street fiasco could make for a fascinating story.

5 stocks Bruce Berkowitz is bullish on (Market Watch)

Fairholme Fund is performing spectacularly this year, returning 17.5% in a month and a half. This follows a less-than-stellar 2011 which saw the fund lose a little more than 32% on poor performance by stocks like St. Joe, among others. The fund had $580 million invested in Bank of America BAC at the end of December, and the stock’s 40% return has contributed significantly to Fairholme’s strong performance over the last several weeks. Let’s take a look at the stocks Berkowitz is currently most bullish about:

BofAML HF Index Up 0.80% As Of Feb 15 (FINalternatives)

The Bank of America Merrill Lynch investable hedge fund composite index was up about 0.80% for the month as of February 15. Event driven and equity long/short strategies were the best performers, adding 1.44% and 1.30%, respectively. Equity market neutral were the worst performing funds, losing 0.19%.

Alix Capital Launches Investable Single-Strategy UCITS Indices (FINalternatives)

Geneva-based Alix Capital has launched a family of investable indices tracking single UCITS hedge fund strategies. The UAIX indices will track commodities, CTAs, fixed income, long/short equity and volatility. Each index is composed of six to 15 underlying UCITS hedge funds and rebalanced quarterly. The objective, according to an Alix statement, is to “replicate and outperform each respective UCITS Alternative Index benchmark.” To be included in a UAIX index, funds must be UCITS compliant, manage at least €30 million and accept new investments.

Dyson, Ex-Sloane Robinson, Readies Euro. Hedge Fund (FINalternatives)

The former head of Sloane Robinson’s European team is set to launch a hedge fund of his own. Rupert Dyson has founded Edale Capital in London. The new firm will offer its maiden hedge fund, a European equity long/short vehicle, within a few months, Financial News reports.

Accused Software Thief Freed By Appeals Court (FINalternatives)

A former Goldman Sachs group programmer’s conviction for stealing the bank’s high-frequency trading software has been thrown out by a federal appeals court. Sergey Aleynikov was freed Thursday after serving almost one year of an eight-year prison sentence. He was convicted in December 2010 of theft of trade secrets for allegedly having dowloaded parts of Goldman’s HFT code on his last day at the firm in 2009 to bring with him to a new job at Teza Technologies, the controversial firm founded by several former Citadel Investment Group traders.

Here’s Why Whitney Tilson’s 13-F Didn’t Have Netflix In It When It Came Out (Business Insider)

We thought it was a little strange when Whitney Tilson and Glenn Tongue’s hedge fund T2 Partners’ latest 13F came out earlier this week and Netflix wasn’t included. We sent the hedge fund manager an email to find out why and there’s now a corrected version of the fund’s regulatory filing out.

Eric Sprott On Fundamentals of Silver Market & Euro Debt Crisis (Value Walk)

Eric Sprott: One of My Aims in Life is to Have a Silver Issue Where I Can’t Source the Last Bar With the Greek crisis nearing a climax, The Doc spoke with Eric Sprott of Sprott Asset Management this week to discuss the Euro debt crisis, silver fundamentals, and the sourcing of silver for the PSLV’s recent $350 million follow-on offering. Eric also discusses his goal in life to have a silver issue where he is unable to source the last bar, his attempts to convince silver mining companies to understand and believe in their own products, as well as his efforts to convince hedge funds and institutions to consider the silver market.

Whitney Tilson ‘Cautiously’ Optimistic (Value Walk)

News over the past few months has been surprisingly good, says Whitney Tilson, hedge fund manager. “We’re cautiously optimistic that things are going to get better,” he adds.

Warren Buffett Spends Hours on YouTube (Value Walk)

Even Warren Buffet is a regular Youtube viewer! Is just amazing to get many information from youtube. It may be a short video but it’s worth watching!

Royce: The Advantage Of High Quality Small Caps (Frank Voisin)

In the WealthTrack episode below (come to the site to view it), Charles Royce of The Royce Funds discusses the relative value opportunities that currently exist in high quality small caps…

Quest’s Barnett Launches Pan-Asian Sibling To High Performing Thai Focused Equity Fund (Opalesque)

Quest Management Inc.’s Doug Barnett is set to launch a pan-Asian ex-Japan hedge fund, the Greyhound Asia Fund, to run alongside his existing single country fund, the Thai Focused Equity Fund. Barnett was interviewed for Opalesque TV in 2011, detailing his 3111% return over 21 years in the Thai Focused Equity Fund.

Emanagers Total Index Gains 2.72% In January After Losing 1.6% In 2011 (Opalesque)

The Emanagers Total Index, consisting of both hedge funds and managed futures funds, gained 2.72% in January after losing 1.6% in 2011. Since inception in January 2009, the index grew over 61%, outperforming both the global stock market and its hedge fund peers.

Northern Trust Expands Hedge Fund Arm (Hedge Co. Net)

Northern Trust is building its capabilities in hedge fund and private equity management for institutional and individual clients with its Northern Trust Alternatives Group.

US Judge Finds UK Hedge Fund Adviser Guilty Of Securities Fraud (Hedge Co. Net)

New York Judge Robert W. Sweet issued an Opinion in favor of the SEC finding that United Kingdom-based hedge fund adviser Pentagon Capital Management PLC (PCM) and Lewis Chester, PCM’s Chief Executive Officer, engaged in securities fraud in violation of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Lampert’s Woes Show No Sign Of Ending (Institutional Investor)

Eddie Lampert’s troubles with Sears Holdings were underscored this week when he reported just $5.7 billion in U.S. assets as of year-end, down $3.4 billion, or 37 percent, from $9.1 billion on September 30 and barely half the $10.1 billion reported on June 30. Some of this decline reflects the 57 percent drop in the value of his Sears shares, which accounted for 25 percent of the equity assets at year-end and one-third at the end of June.

Hedge Funds Are Hilarious (The Reformed Broker)

I think the performance of so-called hedge funds as a group wouldn’t be so roundly mocked and scrutinized if: a) there weren’t so many of them and… b) their compensation wasn’t so incredibly disconnected from what they’ve been able to deliver and… c) they actually lived up to their nomenclature and actually hedged.

David Einhorn and Levered Equities (Distressed Debt Investing)

Last week, the Financial Services Authority released its transcript that they used (as evidence) to fine David Einhorn 7.2 million pounds in relation to Greenlight selling its stake in Punch Taverns after a conference call with Punch’s CEO.  I have tremendous respect for David Einhorn and Greenlight Capital and am a huge fan of Einhorn’s book Fooling Some of the People All of the Time.  I think opining on the subject matter at hand is impossible given the one sided nature of the news flow / information (i.e. FSA is in the power position here).  With that said, I thought one of Einhorn’s comments on the conference call was quite interesting for our readers.

Concerns Over Investment Consultants’ Impartiality (COO Connect)

Investment consultants need to be more tightly regulated amid criticism that some are accepting “finders’ fees” in exchange for broking introductions or deals between their hedge fund and investor clients.

CFTC to force hedge fund managers to register (COO Connect)

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is scrapping hedge fund registration exemptions, which could force managers trading futures, options on futures and swaps to register with the regulatory body.

Hedge Fund Managers Beware the New Ides of March (Hedge Co. Net)

Once again the onus has been put on the financial community to be the eyes, ears and to a lesser extent an enforcement arm for various governmental agencies with respect to foreign investment by US persons and entities…..

‎Buffett Mischaracterizes Gold’s Bull Market (Minyanville)

Once again, someone famous is dismissing gold, and once again, that someone is Warren Buffett. In comparing it to the bubbles in housing and Internet stocks, he feels he’ll ultimately be vindicated. In his annual letter to shareholders, Buffett trashed gold as a bubble that is being driven by fear of other asset classes. He believes that those who buy today only do so because they believe the “ranks of the fearful will grow.”

Morning News: February 21, 2012 (Crossing Wall Street)

RANsquawk European Morning Briefing – Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 21/02/12 (Zero Hedge)

Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: February 21 (Zero Hedge)

Tuesday 7atSeven: Greece 2 (Abnormal Returns)

Top clicks this week on Abnormal Returns (Abnormal Returns)

Hot Links: Big Winners (The Reformed Broker)

10 Monday Afternoon Reads (The Big Picture)

HFMWeek Daily Snapshot – 21 February (HFM Week)

SEC Form D filings for Feb. 20, 2012 (Reuters Hedge World)

Jim Rogers Likes The Euro, Travelodge’s Hedge Fund Friends, Hedge Funds Need To Try Harder And More (Reuters Hedge World)