Breakingviews

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.

Valeant sets tone for post-M&A accounting scrutiny

October 22, 2015

The drugmaker’s stock ended Wednesday down 19 pct after a short-seller and others questioned its bookkeeping. The $40 bln serial acquirer’s history may make it an obvious target, but as growth and mergers slow a renewed investor focus on companies’ figures is a logical shift.

Hedge fund wobbles hand ammunition to fee fighters

September 1, 2015

Big names from Greenlight to Pershing to Third Point have taken a pounding from recent market turmoil. It’s just a month’s bad performance. But if high-priced managers can’t provide a hedge to regular investments, it lends extra weight to Calpers and others who are ditching them.

ConAgra’s smorgasbord is ready to carve

June 19, 2015

The Hunt’s-to-Swiss Miss conglomerate’s $6.8 bln acquisition of Ralcorp in 2013 has left a bad taste for shareholders. Pushy Jana Partners is ready to shake up the board. ConAgra’s myriad brands probably fit better elsewhere. The question is how to slice it.

Hedge fund pay hauls a political-financial shame

By Edward Hadas
May 5, 2015

The top 25 managers took in $11.6 bln last year, Alpha magazine calculates. If these rewards were for building a stronger economy, the 0.001 percent’s political clout might still be troubling. But such gains for largely mediocre performance in secondary markets are shocking.