Breakingviews

Cox: Who’s the Chinese buyer we’ve never heard of?

By Rob Cox
April 14, 2016

That’s the question every investment banker now asks when selling a company or asset anywhere in the world. M&A advisers are even flying China specialists across oceans for pitches. Anbang-like hiccups won’t stop the trend. But extra due diligence and vigilance is required.

The Exchange podcast: Rise of shareholder activism

March 10, 2016

Hedge fund manager Jeff Gramm pops over to Times Square to discuss his new book, "Dear Chairman," which chronicles eight decades of pushy investing from Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett to Carl Icahn and Dan Loeb, and what this history means for markets now and in the future.

Review: A love letter to shareholder poison pens

March 4, 2016

In “Dear Chairman,” hedge fund manager Jeff Gramm unearths prickly missives fired off to boards to chronicle decades of pushy investing. The book, which features Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett and Carl Icahn, is a breezy but sophisticated guide for today’s activist era and beyond.

Ambac getting right pressure from wrong place

March 3, 2016

The bond insurer may soon face a proxy fight from Canyon Capital. The hedge fund wants it to speed up settling $4 bln of financial crisis-era claims. That makes sense. Trouble is, Canyon has a position in both sides of the trade. It’s a worrying conflict of interest.

Argentina’s Macri puts money where his mouth is

February 8, 2016

The president offered holdout creditors a 25 pct discount on $9 bln of defaulted debt. Two agreed. Hedge fund Elliott is holding out; Argentina’s Congress and a U.S. judge must OK any deal. But a functional economy and access to global markets may finally be in reach.

Ackman inadvertently makes case for index funds

January 28, 2016

The Pershing Square boss rails against passive portfolio managers in his latest missive. Bill Ackman also blames his own woeful 2015 performance on bad market timing and hedges that didn’t work. That encapsulates why most investors should stick to the likes of the S&P 500.

Argentina and Elliott give peace a chance in 2016

December 21, 2015

There may never be a better time for Latin America’s No. 3 economy and the hedge fund to end a 14-year spat over defaulted bonds. New President Macri needs access to global debt markets; another defiant Peronist could succeed him if he fails. Stalemate is looking pointless.

“Zero and 100″ model might just work for BlueCrest

December 7, 2015

The $8 bln hedge fund is closing to outsiders. Michael Platt’s firm will need to do more with far less capital to offset the loss of hefty “2 and 20” external fees. A Breakingviews analysis shows higher leverage is the key. Platt may be OK taking extra risk others wouldn’t.

Saudi has chance to teach hedge funds a lesson

December 3, 2015

The largest OPEC producer has long complained that the biggest risk to a stable oil market is hedge funds who bet on falling prices. A deal to cut production in Vienna on Dec. 4, while a drop in the bucket for Saudi, could push up oil prices and leave speculators with big losses.

Bill Ackman pushes limits of activism at Valeant

November 5, 2015

The hedge fund boss hinted the drugmaker’s CEO may need to go and was invited into the boardroom mid-crisis, according to a newspaper report. Ackman also seems to have usurped Valeant’s defense. The $55 bln of quickly lost market value suggests his involvement isn’t helping much.