Daniel Loeb, who runs $8.7 billion at his hedge fund Third Point, has been an opportunistic buyer in the bonds of Chesapeake Energy, the embattled natural gas producer, according to sources familiar with the matter.
But Loeb, known to rattle the cages of companies for years (see: war with Yahoo), isn’t piggybacking on Carl Icahn’s or O. Mason Hawkins’s activist role in Chesapeake, demanding changes in management or the overhaul of its business practices. Indeed, all the elements are there for a veteran agitator like Loeb, as Chesapeake has been embroiled in scandal over a controversial investment program involving CEO Aubrey McClendon.
But the New York-based hedge fund manager, who told his investors in June that Chesapeake is now his fund’s fourth largest position, could simply be making a straight investment play and leaving the rest to Icahn and Hawkins. Imagine that?
“If you are investing in Chesapeake right now, you are investing because you think the assets are worth more than the market value of the outstanding debt and equity of the company,” said Dan Fuss, vice chairman and portfolio manager at Loomis Sayles, which holds $172 billion in assets under management.
“These are now asset plays, not a quarter-by-quarter earnings play.”