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.

Bernanke musters maximum revolving-door dignity

April 16, 2015

The Fed boss turned blogger will advise $25 bln hedge fund Citadel. Critics may object, and the move won’t help the U.S. central bank’s image of being above the fray. But former public servants deserve to work for pay. At least Bernanke waited over a year and didn’t join a bank.

BNY Mellon spat hints at activism getting crowded

March 13, 2015

Marcato Capital, run by a protégé of Bill Ackman, is gunning for the bank’s CEO after Nelson Peltz’s Trian secured a board seat. Sotheby’s and Darden also attracted multiple agitators. Being pushy has been profitable, but there may be too much money chasing too few opportunities.

Fresh flames rise from Sealy’s ever-burning bed

By Stephanie Rogan
February 17, 2015

Uppity investor H Partners, alleging serial underperformance and stale private equity directors, wants Tempur Sealy’s CEO fired and a seat on the board. The company and the mattress industry have a torturous financial history. It probably means where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Drugmakers unlikely candidates for next big short

February 11, 2015

Kyle Bass, a hedge fund manager who bet successfully on a U.S. housing crash, is targeting pharma companies worth $450 bln. A new method of challenging patents gives him a tool. But it’s not clear how his firm, Hayman Capital, has a leg up on existing, aggressive generic firms.

U.S. insider trading cops risk pasting from bench

January 30, 2015

Prosecutors’ aggressive view of the law has already irked appeals judges, and the Supreme Court may be next. A case on the definition of an illegal tip could give Justice Scalia his long-sought chance to rein in Wall Street watchdogs. Their loss would be a win for clearer rules.