Hedge Funds

Leon Cooperman Won’t Tell The President What To Do But Sure Hopes Someone Else Does

There once was a time that Leon Cooperman had the president’s ear. Specifically, that time he had dinner with him, and the president asked him whether he thought Amazon was a monopoly. Twice. Both times, Cooperman gave the wrong answer, because he took the question at face value and failed to understand that, to Donald Trump, words like “monopoly” have no meaning except as potential weapons against perceived enemies, and therefore that saying Amazon is a monopoly does not mean that it has exclusive control over a particular commodity or service, but that it is a bad company run by someone who does not like Donald Trump and is thus a monopoly because calling it one might allow Donald Trump to destroy it. Because Leon Cooperman does not provide the answers Donald Trump wants to hear, and als...

Bill Ackman Needs To Talk To A CFA

Hey, not everything Bill Ackman touches turns to shit. He had that solid little Nike bet a few months back, and Chipotle is on the rebound. Heck, there was even all that upside joy he found in the frozen fish aisle last year. But it turns out that Bill’s personal investment portfolio also has a few winners. From Bloomberg: The hedge fund manager personally holds a majority stake in Rittenhouse Hill, a luxury apartment complex that’s one of the largest in Philadelphia, according to a May regulatory filing that first disclosed his ownership. The property, with about 625 units, has jumped in appraised value since he teamed up with the Pestronk brothers to buy it in 2011. “Bill Ackman: Real Estate Investor.” We like the sound of that. But is he really any good at this or are we looking at anot...

SocGen Kills Two Birds With One Giant Check

By Société Générale (Société Générale) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons This weekend, it emerged that UniCredit’s French CEO, Jean-Pierre Mustier, thinks that the Italian lender would be much improved if it became significantly more French, specifically by merging with Société Générale, where he used to work. A hedge fund thought this would be something less than a good idea, given UniCredit’s status as an Italian bank and all that entails. Unhelpfully for Mustier’s case, his lust for his old employer emerged just before this little tidbit. Federal authorities slapped French bank Société Générale with more than $1.3 billion in fines on Monday for bribing the regime of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and for rigging global interest rates…. The bank had manipulated the rate in order to ma...

Opening Bell 6.6.2018

Hedge Fund Managed by Billionaire Howard Gained 36% in May [Bloomberg] Howard’s performance marks a significant turnaround for macro trading, a hedge fund strategy that has struggled to make money for years. Middling performance had prompted investors to pull money from some of the oldest and most established macro traders including Brevan Howard, Tudor Investment Corp. and Caxton Associates. That’s reversing now, with investors pouring nearly $12 billion into such funds during the first four months of the year, the most of any strategy, according to data compiled by eVestment. U.S. trade deficit falls to seven-month low [Reuters] The Commerce Department said on Wednesday the trade gap dropped 2.1 percent to $46.2 billion, the smallest since September. Data for March was revised to show th...

Ken Griffin: I Agreed To Pay How Much For New York Offices When Anne Was Pissing Me Off?

By Paul Elledge [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons Appearances to the contrary, Ken Griffin didn’t become Illinois’ wealthiest man by throwing money away. Sure, being the third-highest-paid hedge fund manager on earth helps, but it’s mostly about knowing which paintings are worth that half-billion dollars, and which New York City offices aren’t really worth that record $300 per square foot that seemed reasonable when your soon-to-be-ex-wife was making you really mad. Especially when said office space, which you were really looking forward to moving into this year, won’t be ready for another two. The company has the right to get out of its lease because construction is delayed, Crain’s reported, and has hired JLL to look for office space. “It’s an opportunity to check the market and re-e...

Unlike His Philistine Staff, Steve Cohen Likes Round Art

Sometimes it feels like we will never fully explore the cabinet of bizarre mysteries that is working for Steve Cohen. SAC is a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in fleece vest. He loves deeply (silence, Chris Christie, trading with an edge, Guy Fieri), hates potently (ex-wives, the SEC, all other hedge fund managers) and is loaded up with idiosyncrasies (Zambonis, silence, Guy Fieri), but one thing that Steve Cohen has taken pains to make clear about himself over the years is that Steve Cohen is a man who knows and loves art. Cohen is a macher on the modern art scene, a power player in the world of paint and a man who knows what he likes. And if you need more evidence that SAC is the preeminent art critic of our time with a side hustle in the asset management racket, Bloomberg has you c...

Chronically Ill Hedge Fund Shows Sign Of Life

Brevan Howard Asset Management is the sick man of Europe’s hedge fund industry. Once a $40 billion behemoth helmed by Britain’s wealthiest hedge fund manager, the firm has wasted away to a sickly $8 billion. Amputating the “Brevan” hasn’t helped either. It’s been managing that shrinking pile of cash for nothing for the better part of two years, and last year firm founder Alan Howard brought the emaciated hedge fund home, where at least it would be allowed to die with dignity. Still, Howard and the hedge fund’s doctors in London weren’t ready to give up. Another round of extraordinary measures were tried, including the painful removal of its Tel Aviv office and shedding a further couple dozen employees. It was a desperate decision, a Hail Mary, but by God if it hasn’t worked. The Brevan How...

Sears Still Screwed, Eddie Lampert Still Gonna Be Fine

By DR04 [CC BY 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons Things have looked grim for a while at Sears Holdings. Usually, this is not good for the people who own and run such companies. But for Eddie Lampert, who is Sears’ chairman, CEO, controlling shareholder and major creditor? Yea, as suspected, the inevitable death of an icon of American capitalism and retailing on his watch probably won’t register all that much thanks to the bewildering web he’s rather carefully weaved. Lampert, the company’s chief executive, main shareholder and a key lender through his hedge fund ESL Investments Inc., is unlikely to lose much money, even as other shareholders are wiped out. That’s because Lampert, again and again, has positioned himself to benefit from the moves required to keep Sears in business while shielding...

Eddie Lampert Not The Only One Who Thinks Sears Isn’t A Total Disaster

By Jonrev at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons In one sense, Eddie Lampert’s tenure as chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings has not been a good one, insofar as the formerly giant retailer becomes less and less giant with each passing day. On the other hand, that was perhaps all part of the plan, a long game that Lampert’s been playing for more than a decade in which he lets the bad parts of Sears (stores, Canada) whither and die so that he has no choice, as chairman and CEO of said company, to sell the good parts of Sears (Craftsman, Kenmore) to himself. This is perhaps unfortunate for Sears retirees, but it seems like a pretty good idea to people other than Eddie Lampert. Sears Holdings CEO Eddie Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL, said Tuesday it’s received “numerous inbound ...

Carl Icahn Tacitly Admits That There Is No Joy In Herbalife Without Bill Ackman’s Pain

The greatest proxy slap fight in finance history is officially over, like really over… Carl Icahn’s Icahn Enterprises is finally taking some profits on its Herbalife winnings. On Friday the investor said he is lowering his stake in a securities filing. Just a few scant months after Bill Ackman gave in on his zero bet on Herbalife, Carl Icahn has decided that he no longer needs to hold all that weight in the health shake mega-business that is almost definitely not maybe a pyramid scheme. And Carl’s reasoning is sound: “Yesterday IEP tendered its Herbalife shares into the Company’s self-tender offer. Of the shares we tendered, at most only 11.4 million could possibly be purchased in the tender, which would still leave us as the Company’s largest shareholder with at least 34.3 million shares,...

Dan Loeb Going Into Fintech Because What Else Is He Gonna Do With All That Nervous Energy?

Last year, Dan Loeb bought $3.5 billion worth of Nestlé shares. This was apparently enough to give him one hell of a contact sugar high, because ever since then he’s been a little hyperactive. He’s very happy those Swiss master confectioners have seen the wisdom of his ways, but they need to do it faster faster faster faster now. In the meantime he’s been working on some great scripted drama pitches, spent a little too much time on social media and concocted what we can only assume is the mother of all Bill Ackman burns. Still, there was nervous energy left to burn off, so Dan Loeb got to work on a sizeable SPAC. And what else would a restless and overeager hedge-fund billionaire spend his $400 million blank check on than fintech? The hedgie behind Third Point is looking to raise $400 mill...

Bill Ackman’s Journey Of Growth And Change Leads Him To A $1 Billion Bet On A Troubled Retail Stock Run By A Guy From JC Penney

No story has warmed the cockles of our cold, black heart quite like the journey of self-discovery and improvement that has recently been undertaken by our pal, William Albert Ackman. After a rough few years, The Ack-Man has taken it upon himself to strip his mental house down to the studs and rebuild. Gone are the massive oversteps and attention-seeking mega bets that got him in trouble before. Bill Ackman 2.0 is not out there looking to be Bill Ackman, he’s a mindful investor looking to see what others aren’t. He doesn’t even have a driver any more for fuck’s sake. You can laugh at the old Bill Ackman for all his Don Quixote histrionics with losses in Family Dollar, Target and JC Penney. But the joke is on you going forward because the new Bill Ackman doesn’t make old mistakes… William Ac...