Paulson Persists With Property, Coleman Raise $XRS, Top 10 Fund Managers Loved By Hedge Funds, Hedge Funds On Greek Debt…

Billionaire Paulson Persists With Property (Bloomberg)

Paulson’s credit funds owned at least $2.4 billion of mortgage- backed securities on a “notional” basis in the third quarter, or at least 20 percent of its holdings, according to data in the letter. Notional typically refers to the face value of bonds or bets in derivative markets. Paulson is persisting with the wager, according to a person with knowledge of the fund, who asked not to be named because the information is private. A spokesman for the $28 billion hedge fund in New York declined to comment. Paulson’s Advantage Plus fund, one of his largest, slumped 51 percent last year as bets on a U.S. economic recovery backfired and banks declined. The fund had lost 46 percent through the end of September.

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Lightsquared Cries Foul Over GPS Advisory Board (Reuters)

Telecom startup LightSquared is asking for an investigation of a possible conflict of interest by a member of an advisory board that has already warned against its technology because of interference with the global positioning system. LightSquared, which needs government approval of its high-speed wireless technology by the end of the month to keep its major partner on board, lodged its probe request with NASA Inspector General Paul Martin late Wednesday. Billionaire hedge fund manager Philip Falcone has bet more than $3 billion of his Harbinger Capital Partners money on LightSquared.

Pine River’s Knight Sees Opportunity In Mortgage Underwriters (Bloomberg)

Richard Knight, head of business development at Pine River Capital Management LP, said the hedge fund sees relative-value trading opportunities in banks that underwrite mortgages and other financial-services companies. “We think our mortgage expertise gives an edge in mortgage REITs, looking at the banks that underwrite mortgages, in servicers and payment processors,” Knight said today in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “We see opportunities in looking at the spread between winners and losers.”

Top 10 Fund Managers Held By Hedge Funds (Market Watch)

Investment management stocks were under pressure last year because of the European debt crisis, and many investment management stocks underperformed. We think this year is going to be different.

Oil May Fall After U.S. Retail Sales Decline, Survey Shows (Bloomberg)

Oil may fall next week on concern that the U.S. economy is slowing, curbing fuel demand in the largest crude-consuming country, a Bloomberg News survey showed. “Concerns about the economy will be renewed, especially given the rebound in jobless claims and the increased focus on what is turning out to be a lackluster holiday shopping season,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy.

Hedge Funds Hunker Down For Greek Debt Standoff (Reuters)

Hedge funds are positioning to profit from a plan to slash Greece’s towering debt pile as Athens enters final talks that could sway the country’s membership of the euro. York Capital, the $14 billion fund part-owned by Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse, New York-listed Och Ziff , and $10 billion-strong Marathon Asset Management are among those who collectively may have built up sufficiently large positions to scupper the bailout deal, several sources close to the debt restructuring told Reuters.

Greece’s Bank Creditors Say Time Running Short For Debt Swap As Talks Drag (Bloomberg)

Greek Deputy Finance Minister Filippos Sachinidis said today that Greece could need additional international funding if there isn’t full participation of private creditors in a debt swap. Analysts have said some hedge funds holding Greek debt may resist the debt swap, hoping for better returns from triggering credit-default swaps, which may harm banks.

Can Greece Strike A Deal With The Hedge Funds? (WSJ)

Trading in credit default swaps have been vilified by European officials who see them as the domain of unscrupulous hedge funds seeking to profit from the region’s troubles. Dow Jones’s Costas Paris and Terence Roth discuss.

Chase Coleman Raised Stake In TAL Education Group (Insider Monkey)

Tiger Global Management’s Chase Coleman, who was famous for his outstanding 45% return in 2011, boosted his activist stake in TAL Education Group (XRS). According to a SEC regulatory filing late yesterday, Chase Coleman reported 23.48 million shares of TAL Education in his portfolio, corresponding to a 37.8% activist stake. This amount includes 21.88 million Class B common shares which can be converted into the same number of Class A common shares, and 800 thousand American Depositary Shares, which can be exchanged for Class A common shares at a ratio of 1:2.

Pity the billionaire: How the Right came back (CNN Money)

Recently, billionaire hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman published an open letter in which he complained that President Obama was being mean to rich people. A billionaire complaining about class warfare? How tragic, author Thomas Frank probably thought. Excuse the rest of the population whose gripes with Washington’s leaders — who have presided over two decades of growing income inequality, high joblessness, and an unrivaled housing mess — extend beyond a little hurtful rhetoric.

Hedgie Ready To Deal (New York Post)

John Thaler, who runs New York hedge fund JAT Capital, had such a good year that he wants to sell his Upper East Side apartment and upgrade his living situation. We’re told that Thaler, who has listed his five-bedroom, 5 1/2-bathroom condo at the Cielo building on East 83rd Street for $6.4 million, is looking for bigger digs. His Cielo apartment is already plenty impressive, with about 3,500 square feet and floor-to-ceiling windows with city and river views. While some hedge funds took a beating in 2011, JAT Capital Management was up 12.7 percent in 2011 even though it took a sizeable hit with its big stake in Netflix.

Avesta Capital Gives Back Investor Money As Tung Returns To Bacon’s Moore (Bloomberg)

Avesta Capital Advisors LLC, a $636 million equity hedge fund run by William Tung, is giving back outside capital after nearly a decade in business, according to a letter sent to investors. Tung, 41, will return to New York-based Moore Capital Management LP, where he worked for six years before starting his own fund. Moore, run by Louis Bacon, is a so-called macro firm, which chases macroeconomic trends by trading stocks, bond, currencies and commodities. “Given the prominent role that ‘macro’ is playing in the stock market these days, and given my desire to emphasize the ‘top-down’ in Avesta’s process, being at a macro shop such as Moore will only facilitate greater chances of success,” Tung said in the letter today.

Rajaratnam Prosecutor To Join Dechert Law Firm (Reuters)

Jonathan Streeter, the lead prosecutor in the Raj Rajaratnam insider trading trial, is leaving the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office to join the Dechert law firm in New York. Streeter, an assistant U.S. attorney, next month will become an equity partner in the firm’s white collar and securities litigation practice, a spokeswoman for Dechert said on Thursday.

Turkey Yields Sink First Week In Five As Funding Rate Declines (Bloomberg)

Turkish yields slid for a third day, headed for their first weekly drop in five weeks, as the central bank provided funding at rates below inflation. “The central bank has eased liquidity significantly,” Bugra Bilgi, a hedge fund manager at Garanti Asset Management, said in e-mailed comments. “Yields between 11.80 and 12 percent are looking seriously attractive.”

Talpion And Stark Vet Will Graves Plans New TMT Fund (AR)

Highbridge Capital Management co-founder Henry Swieca’s recent decision to turn his Talpion Fund Management from a hedge fund back into a family office has already produced at least one offshoot. Will Graves, Talpion’s technology, media and telecom senior portfolio manager, is preparing to launch his own long/short TMT fund in the second quarter, according to people familiar with the plans.

WallachBeth Capital Adds Pair Of ETF Execution Experts (FINalternatives)

Institutional brokerage and execution firm WallachBeth Capital has added two industry veterans to the firm’s ETF execution division. Chris Hempstead, a 20-year trading market veteran joins as director of ETF execution, and Dong Lee, a 12-year ETF product specialist, joins as director of institutional sales. According to Michael Wallach, co-founder and CEO of WallachBeth, “The continued growth in the ETF product arena, coupled with our firm’s unique approach to true best execution has struck more than a chord with the institutional investor community, and has required us to continuously ramp up our infrastructure with the industry’s most talented individuals.

Walt Lukken’s Revolving Door, January Outflows For Hedge Funds, Lower Bonuses In 2012 And More (Reuters Hedge World)