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30 Mar 2007

NFL Hedge Fund Case To Proceed as Planned

A federal judge in Atlanta ruled that the NFL players who entrusted their funds to Kirk Sean Wright, CEO of hedge fund International Management Associates of Atlanta, may move forward with their case over lost investments.

The FBI in association with the IRS, DOJ and SEC investigated why requests by current and former NFL players for their funds were ignored. The amount of the loss of funds in question is about $20 million. The investigation resulted in charges against Mr. Wright and a trial date is pending.

"It's a tremendous victory for our clients and all former and current players," said their lawyer, Jim Evangelista, of the law firm Motley Rice.

The ruling means the case will go to the discovery phase, in which the players' attorneys will seek documents and depositions of NFL officials about why they recommended the now-bankrupt and defunct hedge fund.

The players accuse the NFL and union of breach of fiduciary duty for approving the services of Kirk Wright and Nelson Keith Bond, co-heads of the bankrupt hedge fund, without doing background checks. Wright was ordered on Feb. 12 to pay the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission $20 million in its lawsuit over the failed fund.

Wright and his hedge fund are accused of collecting between $115 million and $185 million from at least 500 investors since 1997 and misleading some of them through false statements and documents to believe the value of those investments was increasing.

Top Ten Global Hedge Fund Firms

1. JPMorgan Asset Management, including Highbridge Capital Management, main offices in N.Y. Assets under management; $34 billion as of Jan '07.

2. Goldman Sachs Asset Management, also in New York, USA. AUM $32.53 billion.

3. Bridgewater Associates, Westport, USA. $30.2 billion.

4. D. E. Shaw Group, N.Y. $26.3 billion.

5. Farallon Capital Management, San Francisco, USA. $26.2 billion.

6. Renaissance Technologies Corp. East Setauket, USA. $24 billion.

7. Och-Ziff Capital Management, N.Y. $21 billion.

8. Cerberus Capital Management, N.Y. $19.15 billion.

9. Barclays Global Investors, San Francisco, USA. $18.9 billion.

10. Man Investments Limited (AHL single-manager strategies only) London, UK. AUM $18.8 billion.

The statistics represent single-manager hedge funds only. Funds of funds, which are tracked by InvestHedge, are not included in the $2 trillion calculations.

Global Hedge Funds now Over 2 Trillion in Assets

Assets in global hedge funds have now reached more than $2 trillion according to new research compiled by HedgeFund Intelligence, publisher of the newsletters and databases of EuroHedge, AsiaHedge, South AfricaHedge and InvestHedge, as well as the U.S.-based magazine Absolute Return.

The findings of this research, which is published in a new Global Review from HedgeFund Intelligence, shows a rise in global hedge fund assets from just over $1.5 trillion in January 2006 to $2.079 trillion by January of this year - a rate of growth in assets of just over 30% in the past year.

According to the latest research from InvestHedge - which tracks investors in hedge funds - an increasing proportion of this money is coming from institutional investors, with the majority of the assets allocated to hedge funds (over $1 trillion) now coming via the fund of funds sector.

The HedgeFund Intelligence research process was completed with the latest EuroHedge asset survey, which showed that assets in European hedge funds had reached almost $460 billion by January of this year - up from $325 billion the year before, and at the fastest rate of growth in the past year (about 40%) among the major regions around the world.

The latest AsiaHedge asset survey showed that combined assets in Asia-Pacific hedge funds had reached $147 billion (including Asia-Pacific funds managed from the U.S. and Europe) - up from $115 billion the year before.

In the U.S., HedgeFund Intelligence calculated that total hedge fund assets have now reached almost $1.5 trillion - including some $1.198 trillion accounted for the Absolute Return Billion Dollar Club alone (which was up from about $850 billion a year earlier).

After adjusting for a small amount of double-counting (such as for funds managed in one region but investing into another), the combined assets of hedge funds in the U.S., Europe and the Asia-Pacific now stand at $2.006 trillion. Adding in other regions - including Canada, Latin America and South Africa - takes the combined total to $2.079 trillion.

29 Mar 2007

Study Shows Hedge Funds are not Understood by Investors

According to a new Spectrem Perspective report released today, "Alternative Investments: Are They a Priority for Affluent Portfolios?", just 18% of affluent investors, defined as having more than $500,000 in investable assets, say they understand hedge funds. Structured products are understood by only 15% of these investors and private placements come in at 19%.

At the same time, just 9% of affluent investors say they are interested in hedge funds. A similar 9% express interest in structured products, with 10% interested in venture capital, 11% in private placements and 11% in futures.

"While hedge funds have been in the news like no other financial product recently, affluent investors still don't feel they understand these alternative investments. This gap in understanding corresponds with a distinct lack of interest in hedge funds and other alternative investments such as structured products and private placements.

Financial services providers offering these products need to be proactive in educating affluent investors about their risks and rewards. Given their lack of interest, it seems unlikely these investors will step forward themselves seeking more information," said Catherine S. McBreen, Managing Director of Spectrem Group.

When asked which of five specific alternative products were the riskiest, affluent investors selected hedge funds (39%), followed by commodities (32%), precious metals (14%), private equity (8%) and REITS (7%).

The Spectrem Perspective(TM) report, "Alternative Investments: Are They a Priority for Affluent Portfolios?" is based on telephone interviews conducted in late 2006 with 514 affluent households, defined as those with more than $500,000 of investable assets. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

28 Mar 2007

Hedge Fund Faces Fines of up to $25 Million

A hedge fund accused of defrauding mutual funds of $2.4 million in 2003 could face additional fines under a proposed plea agreement filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.

The guilty plea would mark the first criminal case in U.S. history against a hedge fund for deceptive market timing. Traders can calculate their purchases to take advantage of the lag in time before the mutual fund is updated. Many mutual funds have established methods to detect market-timing and ban those that engage in the practice.

Among other things, the U.S. attorney's office said that Gerbasio and Beacon Rock set up more than 30 accounts to evade detection. Under the agreement, in which Beacon Rock Capital LLC is to plead guilty to one count of securities fraud, a judge may levy a fine of up to $25 million, although the guidelines for such a violation call for a range of $1.26 million to $2.52 million, said Derek Cohen, an assistant U.S. attorney in Philadelphia.

Beacon Rock Capital also has agreed to forfeit $475,905 as a result of a "market-timing" scheme that netted the hedge fund $2.4 million. The plea agreement is scheduled for a hearing on April 4. In exchange for the company's guilty plea and cooperation, the government is agreeing not to prosecute the two principals, Blake Singer and Bryant Jaksic.

Hedge Fund Film Review

"Blood Diamond" was a well spent couple of hours, DiCaprio was convincing in his role as a Rhodesian "soldier of fortune" and of course theres the well meaning reporter played by Jennifer Connelly.

Quite realistic in its cruelty and bloodshed, it could be classified as fairly disturbing. Djimon Hounsou plays the father and husband of a lost family who alone knows the whereabouts of a stone that will give each of them what they want.

Financed by hedge fund firm Stark Investments, the film has an Oscar nomination, and is causing quite a stir in the world of diamonds. "People wouldn't buy a diamond if they knew it cost someone their hand." Says Maddy Bowen (Connelly) while wading through the bloody aftermath of a raid by child soldiers in the Sierra Leone.

Other hedge fund movies also in the Oscar running this season; "Poseidon." also by Stark Investments, "The Pursuit of Happyness" by hedge fund Relativity Media and "Borat." by hedge fund Dune Capital Management.

27 Mar 2007

Cayman Islands & Hedge Funds

Approximately 80% of the world's hedge funds are believed to be domiciled in the Cayman Islands. As a result, Cayman Islands hedge fund companies and service providers, such as law firms, accounting firms, and administrators, are employing innovative recruiting techniques to attract and retain professionals.

Some representatives from Cayman-based firms, such as Maples and Calder, KPMG, and Walkers, are talking from their own experience about the new topics on the Cayman agenda, such as onshore vs. offshore employment, how working in offshore financial centers seem to be a preferred career move for hedge fund professionals.

Incentives such as weather and lifestyle are attracting employees to the Caymans, a sophisticated work and family support system encourages them to stay. There have also been recent programs set up by the Cayman private sector firms, aimed at employing local citizens to work in the financial sector.

Hedge funds returned some 13% in 2006, compared with the 15.8% return of the S&P 500 Index, according to industry tracker Hedge Fund research, Inc. of Chicago.

Email me or leave a comment if you want more info on contacting these people, the hedge funds listed above have offered to speak or give advice on moving to the Caymans.

British Hedge Funds Back Up TCI In Dutch Bank Attack

ABN Amro Holding NV said last week it was in preliminary discussions with Barclays about creating a company worth more than $160 billion, this comes after pressure from activist hedge fund TCI asking to split up of the Dutch bank.

Activist hedge funds Polygon and Centaurus are said to be supporting TCI's demands and have also built a stake in ABN in order to pressure the bank into the sale.

The Children's Investment Fund Management(TCI), a $3.8 billion hedge fund, announced in a letter to Dutch bank ABN AMRO last month that they believe the bank is undervalued and should sell some of its assets, merge with another bank, or even sell off the whole business.

In 2005 TCI was part of a group of activist investors who criticized Deutsche Börse for its $2.5 billion bid for the London Stock Exchange, eventually causing Werner Seifert, the chief executive to resign. It turns out TCI, which owned 8% of Deutsche Börse, actively recruited some powerful partners, including Atticus Capital, Merrill Lynch, and Fidelity Investments, in order to facilitate the move. Centaurus is one of the activist shareholders that was embroiled in a dispute with Dutch companies Stork NV and Royal Ahold NV last year, and Polygon Investment Partners is a British equity fund that was involved in the sale of Dutch publisher VNU.

TCI said, "We believe that this strategy would not only create significant shareholder value but also would best serve all the stakeholders who otherwise would suffer over the long term from the structurally declining competitive position of ABN AMRO,......In 2006 they again committed to cut costs and they have so far failed to deliver," the hedge fund said.

26 Mar 2007

Asian Regulators Discuss Hedge Funds

About 40 securities regulators from around Asia and the Pacific are meeting this week to discuss hedge funds.

The regional seminar on Collective Investment Schemes/Hedge Funds is taking place in Beijing today through the 30th as part of the APEC Financial Regulators Training Initiative. The regulators are coming from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand and the People's Republic of China.

Min Tang, Deputy Country Director and Chief Economist for ADB's office in Beijing said "It is important to strengthen financial regulation in the region through these cost-effective programs for bank supervisors and securities regulators."

"On behalf of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, I welcome the opportunity" said Dr. Sun Jie, Director General of the commission's Department of Fund Supervision. "It presents a forum for regulators to discuss and learn from the expertise of developed countries like the United States and Australia, which have been developing their regulatory framework for Collective Investment Schemes over many years."

In May 1998, the APEC Finance Ministers Meeting endorsed the establishment of the APEC Financial Regulators Training Initiative to enhance training efforts for national and regional financial regulators within Asia.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through pro-poor sustainable economic growth, social development, and good governance. Established in 1966, it is owned by 64 members - 46 from the region. In 2005, it approved loans and grants for projects totaling $6.95 billion, and technical assistance amounting to $198.8 million.

Trading Bonuses & Hedge Fund Sales

A major new survey of salary and bonus packages awarded to stock market traders globally reveals Monday that those operating in the Middle East achieved the highest percentage increases ahead of their counterparts in London and on Wall Street.

The sixth annual Napier Scott survey, conducted among 3,000 front office traders and sales people, reveals that Middle East packages increased by 25-30% while those in the UK went up by 17-22%, and only 10-15% in the US.

Shaun Springer, CEO of Napier Scott Executive Search, of London, said: 'The hike in Middle East salaries and bonus reflects the growing appetite for more sophisticated financial products and increasing pressure for talented professionals in this market.

Hedge Funds sales continue to be the principal area of hiring within the marketing functions although less pronounced than in 2005. The survey is the first to be published post the 2007 bonus round.

While those in trading enjoyed the highest percentage increase, and in terms of people moves in asset classes, Equity Derivatives have been the most active. They have also enjoyed the highest percentage increase in salary packages for sales and trading.

"Talk of capping City bonuses can only be counter productive. If those operating in the markets are not allowed to make these profits, from which their remuneration packages are based, they will be moved elsewhere by their banks or indeed, the whole operation."

Springer said that although he was confident that London's supremacy as the global financial center would continue, he doubts bonus levels in the UK would continue to increase at the same rate as in recent years. There is the possibility of this year's bonuses exceeding those of 2008. Since 2002 when many City bonuses were virtually halved following 9/11 and a series of stock market shocks, packages have doubled.

23 Mar 2007

BISYS Wins European Hedge Fund Award

At the inaugural Who’s Who of European Hedge Fund Lawyers awards dinner, BISYS Alternative Investment Services, received the Best Single / Multi-Strategy Hedge Fund Administrator award. This ceremony celebrated the leading service providers in the European hedge fund industry.

This prestigious honor was based on BISYS' commitment to clients, business growth, investment in technology, strategic partnerships and strong client feedback. BISYS' strategic partners - Linedata Services' Beauchamp and RiskMetrics Group, also won awards for Best Hedge Fund Technology Supplier and Best Risk Management Software Supplier, respectively.

"We are delighted about winning this award, which is a tribute to the commitment of our dedicated service teams," said Ronan Daly, president of BISYS Hedge Fund Services, who accepted the award on behalf of BISYS. "

BISYS Alternative Investment Services is a global provider of administrative, accounting, advisory, and tax services for the alternative investment industry with over $275 billion in assets under administration. BISYS has approximately 500 clients and over 1,500 funds, including hedge funds, private equity funds, fund-of-funds, and other alternative investment products. BISYS Alternative Investment Services is a division of The BISYS Group, Inc.

Study Shows Institutional Investors are Comfortable With Hedge Fund Investing

State Street Corporation released its third institutional investor hedge fund study, the study was conducted late last year in conjunction with the 2006 Global Absolute Return congress.

According to the study, more than half of respondents indicated that their governing bodies are more comfortable investing in hedge funds today than they were 12 months ago. Reinforcing this interest, more than half of boards also spend 15% or more of their time on the subject. Asset owners participating in the study included representatives from global pensions with investable assets totaling more than $1 trillion.

"The findings of our study reinforce the industry trend we've been witnessing among our client base − investment boards are overwhelmingly accepting that hedge funds are a viable option for their investment allocations," said Gary Enos, executive vice president and head of State Street's alternative investment servicing business. "They are also discovering the various ways hedge funds can be incorporated into portfolios based upon investors' risk appetite, return targets and overall investment objectives."

Results also show that the percentage of asset owners investing in alternatives increased significantly over last year. This year, only 4% of asset owners indicated they have no hedge fund investments, down from 16% last year.

Nearly half cited a need for additional reporting and analysis on the part of hedge fund managers and more rigorous due diligence practices. In addition, the same number also agreed that obtaining an accurate valuation of hedge fund holdings can be problematic.

"The tools, methods and best practices for managing risk will further develop as hedge funds become a tried and true staple of institutional portfolios," said Enos. "Particularly in light of regulatory pressure and changes in accounting practices, asset owners will continue to push hedge fund managers and third-party service providers, such as administrators, to develop and deliver enhanced risk and transparency solutions."

State Street Corporation provides institutional investors with research and trading services. With $11.9 trillion in assets under custody and $1.7 trillion in assets under management, State Street operates in 26 countries and more than 100 geographic markets worldwide.

22 Mar 2007

SEC Returns $38 Million To Hedge Fund Investors

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced in a press release the distribution of approximately $38 million in Fair Funds to approximately 810 mutual funds that were victims of fraudulent market timing and late trading by the Veras hedge funds.

The funds distributed reflect the entirety of the disgorgement and civil penalties paid by the Veras hedge funds and their principals to settle charges of unlawful market timing and late trading brought by the SEC.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 gave the SEC authority to increase the amount of money returned to harmed investors by allowing civil penalties to be included in Fair Fund distributions. To date, the SEC has distributed over $1 billion in Fair Funds.

Linda Chatman Thomsen, Director of the Division of Enforcement, said, “Today’s distribution marks another significant step in the Commission’s vigorous program to return money to investors injured by mutual fund trading abuses.”

On Dec. 22, 2005, the SEC brought settled administrative proceedings against the Veras Capital Master Fund, VEY Partners Master Fund, Veras Investment Partners, LLC, Kevin D. Larson, and James R. McBride for their participation in a fraudulent market timing and late trading scheme. Respondents consented to entry of the settlement order without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings.

The settlement order found that from January 2002 through September 2003, respondents used deceptive techniques to continue market timing in mutual funds that previously had detected and restricted, or that otherwise would not have permitted, the Veras hedge funds’ trading.

The settlement order provided for distribution of the Fair Fund directly to the mutual funds affected by Veras’ misconduct. The settlement funds are being distributed by the U.S. Treasury directly to the affected mutual funds pursuant to the distribution plan approved by the SEC on Oct. 4, 2006.

Londinium Emerging Markets Fund Of Hedge Fund Launch

Redi & Partners has announced the launch of its first fund of emerging markets hedge fund, the Londinium JPM Emerging Market Fund by investment manager JPMorgan.

The Londinium JPM Emerging Markets Fund was created after a six months study of the economic prospects of emerging countries. Redi & Partners, as Investment Advisor, has selected 19 funds out of a universe of 200 funds, the selections were made through research, direct contacts and personal interviews.

Launched on the 15th of March, 2007, the fund is based in France, where new regulations issued by the French Authorities are attracting the establishment of new hedge funds at the expense of off-shore tax havens.

The initial allocation to each fund has been limited to 5% to create a broad base. Great attention has been placed in studying the strategies and styles of trading of each fund to avoid concentration of the same and reduce the volatility of the new fund of hedge funds. Some of the markets include, Greater China, Eastern Europe, including Russia, Kazakhstan, the Baltic republics, Romania and Bulgaria, India, Brazil, Japan, as well the Pacific market.

BNP Paribas is administrator, with their securities services branch as custodian. JPMorgan is responsible for negotiating the investments in the funds. Preference has been given to hedge funds and long only funds wherever a real hedging was possible.

Funds of hedge funds have seen a 29% increase in 2006, and the trend is expected to continue in 2007. The Londinium JPM Emerging Market Fund will work with the emerging markets equity, cash futures arbitrage, volatility arbitrage, statistical arbitrage, merger arbitrage and convertible bond arbitrage. As well as managed accounts specialized in currency instruments, debt and debt related financial securities linked to global emerging countries.

The unique fund aims at offering the highest level of negotiating power, security, transparency and independence of controls. The pro-forma performance of the basket shows an annualised rate of return of 26.97%, with an annualized volatility of 8.73%. Outperforming by almost twice as much the CSFB/Tremont Emerging Markets Index (+15.36%).

The investments in Managed Accounts 15%, with weekly liquidity, plus the cash 5% totaling 20% allow the Londinium JPM Emerging Markets Fund to flexibly modify its profile, especially in case of unexpected market events, in one week.

For more information, contact;

21 Mar 2007

Give him a place to stand, and he will move the world.

Hedge funds may give investors the ability to operate free from the shackles of the usual emotions and psychology of the marketplace

read more | digg story

Investcorp Launches Early Stage Fund & Wins Hedge Fund Award

Bahrain-based $5 billion hedge fund Investcorp has won the Institutional Hedge Fund Manager award at the inaugural Hedge Funds World Awards in Dubai. The awards are designed to recognise and encourage excellence in the Middle East hedge fund industry.

The award comes at a time when Investcorp is marketing to GCC investors its new Investcorp Early Stage Fund, which invests in newly formed hedge funds, the firm said in a statement. The initial portfolio will be composed of approximately 15-20 managers with targeted returns of 12-14% with annualized volatility of 5-7% over the medium term. The fund offers quarterly liquidity with a one-year lock up period.

Investcorp's co-heads Deepak Gurnani and Ibrahim Gharghour expressed their delight at receiving this industry recognition. "It is an outstanding tribute to be recognised by our industry peers at this leading event," said Mr Gurnani.

"We see this as a testament to the achievements of the past 10 years in pioneering acceptance of hedge funds as an asset class for institutions in the region, and in building a strong business based on superior performance grounded in an industry-leading risk management process."

Mr Gharghour said that the award reflected the fund's substantial progress in widening its business, through current initiatives such as its strategic partnership with London-based WMG. Investcorp and five other hedge funds were selected from over 20 finalists representing leading global hedge fund firms.

Since 1996, Investcorp has invested with more than 50 hedge funds within the first 12 months of their launch and now manage approximately $1 billion in early stage investments.

20 Mar 2007

Mother & Son Team Charged With Hedge Fund Scheme

U.S. Attorney Kevin J. O’Connor announced that a federal grand jury in New Haven NY returned a four-count Indictment charging Ayferafat Yalincak, also known as "Jackie Yalincak," and "Irene Kelly," age 50, and her son, Hakan Yalincak, also known as "Hagen Yalincak," age 21, both Turkish citizens, with operating a multi-million dollar investment hedge fund fraud scheme.

The conspiracy charge carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000. Each wire fraud charge carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, Ayferafat Yalincak and Hakan Yalincak solicited approximately $7 million from several investors for their fake hedge fund. Ayferafet Yalincak, 52, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, but tried to downplay her role in the hedge fund scheme she attributed to her 22-year-old son, Hakan.

Prosecutors say Hakan Yalincak charmed his way into the exclusive world of Greenwich high finance by posing as an heir to a wealthy Turkish family. He moved counterfeit checks and brokered deals with a Kuwaiti financier. Ayferafet Yalincak told a federal judge last year that she attended meetings with investors and allowed her son to present her as a member of an exceedingly wealthy Turkish family who was going to invest millions in his hedge fund.

Prosecutors say Ayferafet Yalincak was responsible for an intended loss of $5.3 million and an actual loss of $3.9 million after some of the money was returned to investors.

"This mother and son team are alleged to have defrauded several sophisticated investors out of a substantial sum of money," U.S. Attorney O’Connor stated. "This Office places a high priority on investigating and vigorously prosecuting investor fraud schemes. This investigation is ongoing." The case has been investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Investec-Blackfish Hedge Fund Launch

Investec Bank and Blackfish Capital Management launched a long/short natural resources hedge fund on March 1 with a plan to raise $300 million over the next six to 12 months from undervalued stocks in the mining and resources sector.

With a $40 million Equity at Launch, the Blackfish-Investec Resources Special Situations Fund's prime broker is Goldman Sachs, with Walkers as Law firm and Butterfield Bank as administrator, Kinetic Partners will Audit the new hedge fund.

The Blackfish-Investec Resources Special Situations Fund is domiciled in the Cayman Islands. Targeted primarily at institutional investors, the the hedge fund strategy will be to achieve absolute returns through strategic investments in the small to mid-cap resources sector focused on value opportunities on the long and short side. The manager will trade the underlying commodities to provide a hedge to the market, actively managing commodity price risk.

Investec and Blackfish have each invested $20 million into the fund as seed capital. The hedge fund investment team is led by Martyn Konig, chief executive of Blackfish Capital Management and George Rogers, head of commodities and resource finance at Investec Bank.

Established in 1974, Investec is a specialist international banking group that provides a diverse range of financial products and services to a niche client base in the UK and Australia as well as South Africa, its country of origin, and various other countries. Investec Bank (UK) is a unit of South African banking group Investec Plc.

19 Mar 2007

Give him a place to stand, and he will move the world

Actually, the title is the name of the picture, it has nothing to do with the story, I just like it. The article is called "Investing: Hedge funds: market angels or demons?"

The article is from Bloomberg, asking whether hedge funds really the disruptive, destabilizing force their critics make them out to be, or do they help make the financial markets run smoother?

It says, "The beauty of hedge funds is their ability, at least in theory, to operate free from the shackles of the usual emotions and psychology of the marketplace."

A measure of cold calculation may be just what is wanted when most investors get caught up in the emotions of a turbulent market. While the herd is stampeding in one direction, nobody is better equipped than hedge funds to get a little movement going the other way.

Interesting poem.

Chapman Hedge Fund Files Against eSpeed Inc.

Activist hedge fund Chapman Capital, filed a 13-D filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in a bid to put electronic trading network eSpeed Inc. on the market.

Robert Chapman said his hedge fund, which is eSpeed's biggest shareholder with 9.3%, has begun contacting eSpeed’s competitors to gauge interest in the firm, which has suffered a disappointing recent trading performance.

In its SEC filing, the hedge fund wrote; "Chapman Capital announced its demand that eSpeed maximise shareholder value via a change of control transaction." It also asked the SEC to compel the eSpeed board of directors to convert the company's B shares into A shares. Holders of B shares have 10 votes per share, A shares just one vote.

The hedge fund also said it communicated to Howard Lutnick, the chairman, chief executive and president of eSpeed, its "strong assertion" that, given his "demonstrated failure to perform in his capacity as CEO", eSpeed's long-term shareholder value "should be maximised via a full-scale auction" and that "the company’s ownership base has conveyed a nearly uniform desire for eSpeed’s Class A shares to be maximized through a change-of-control transaction."

Chapman Capital is a $300 million dollar L.A. based hedge fund run by Robert Chapman. Chapman is founder of the "13-D filing" that most activist hedge funds use today. Over the past 10 years, Chapman Capital has agitated successfully for the restructuring or sale of over 20 publicly-traded companies.

16 Mar 2007

IceCapital Launches Alternative Fund

IceCapital Fund Management Company Ltd. announced in a press release on Wednesday that it has launched a new non-UCITS mutual fund, IceCapital Alternative Beta, which offers hedge fund like return, in liquid and risk-transparent form. The fund is the first of its kind in Finland and one of the earliest in Europe.

UCITS - Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities - is the name given by the European Union (EU) to pan-European investment funds.

The fund is based on latest research on so-called alternative risk premiums. The strategy is to invest in alternative market risk factors, or alternative betas, with which it is possible to form a portfolio that closely tracks the average performance of hedge funds. At the same time the investor receives extra return, or risk premium, as compensation for risk while benefiting from better diversification than in the traditional equity and bond investments.

"The very fast growth of IceCapital's asset management business is due to quick innovativeness. IceCapital Alternative Beta fund is yet another example of that. At the same time, the fund's broad core-satellite range of investments is supplemented with an attractive active investment", says Managing Director, Jyri Viskari.

Mutual Fund IceCapital Alternative Beta starts on 14 March 2007. The minimum investment amount is 100.000 Euros and the fund is open weekly. The portfolio manager of the fund is ICECAPITAL Asset Management Ltd’s Chief Investment Officer Mikael Simonsen.

IceCapital Asset Management and IceCapital Fund Management are part of the independent IceCapital Group, which focuses on investment banking, asset management and private equity. The group currently manages assets reaching 2 billion Euros.

F&C to Launch More Hedge Funds "As the Need Arises"

F&C Asset Management PLC is planning on launching its first private equity fund of funds product for institutional investors. The new fund will invest in event-driven hedge funds, which bet on M&A, share buy-backs and other corporate events.

The new fund will invest in between 20 and 40 hedge funds selected and monitored by F&C Partners. Alain Grisay, F&C's CEO, said at a press conference: "We are near the completion of our first new European private equity limited partnership." The first soft closing for the fund is expected in a couple of weeks and initial institutional commitment could be in the region of E130 million ($173 million).

F&C is also pursuing alternative investments such as hedge funds with a global diversified fixed income products. "Further hedge funds will be launched as and when we identify the right opportunity", he said. This is part of a three-year plan to focus on specialised and high-fee fund management activities such as hedge funds and LDI's (Liability Driven Investments).

Earlier this month a new portable alpha fund was launched using long/short bets on assets, markets and currencies through the use of derivatives.

"We are convinced that this product has the potential to achieve significant scale," Grisay said. The results for the new strategic plan will be visible by 2009, the CEO pledged.

15 Mar 2007

Lehman Brothers buys 20% of Hedge Fund

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. announced on Tuesday that it had bought a 20% stake in hedge fund D.E. Shaw Group, which was formed in 1988 and has about $29 billion in aggregate investment capital. The hedge fund has more than 1,000 employees across the United States and internationally.

D.E. Shaw uses computer programs to find discrepancies in prices among securities. It also invests in distressed debt and makes bets on broad economic trends using stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities.

Lehman Brothers, traditionally seen as a bond house, has invested heavily in alternative investments in recent years, they have minority ownership in four other hedge funds, Spinnaker Capital Group, GLG Partners LP, Ospraie Management LP and Marble Bar Asset Management.

Lehman manages $225 billion, including $9 billion in alternative-investment assets such as hedge funds. That doesn't include money at the firms in which it has minority stakes. Last year, the firm generated $1.4 billion in revenue from asset management, or 8% of total revenue.

The price of the stake wasn't disclosed, though the New York-based firms said in a statement today it would be tied to hedge fund D.E. Shaw's performance.

Hedge Fund Index up for Febuary

According to hedge fund index provider Greenwich Alternative Investments LLC., their Global Hedge Fund Index returned +0.61% in February.

The Greenwich Investable Hedge Fund Index closely tracked the Global Index, returning +0.45% in February and +1.79% year to date, within two basis points of the Global Index return of +1.81% for the year.

“Hedge funds’ downside protection, coupled with their ability to capture market upside, continues to translate into superior risk-adjusted returns." says Ben Rossman, general manager of Greenwich, "Long-biased managers were able to mitigate the effects of February’s declining equities to end the month in positive territory," he said in a press release.

By comparison, both Greenwich Hedge Fund Indices are ahead of the major equity and bond indices for 2007: S&P 500, MSCI World Equity Index, and the FTSE 100 posted returns of -1.96% (-0.48% YTD), -0.65% (+0.46% YTD), and -0.51% (-0.79% YTD), while the Lehman Aggregate Bond Index posted +1.54% (+1.50% YTD). Performance was positive across 12 of the 13 hedge fund strategies followed by the Global Index, with 96% of reporting funds outperforming the S&P 500.

During the last five years the Greenwich Global Hedge Fund Index has produced annualized returns of +9.54% with a maximum drawdown of -4.55%, outperforming the S&P 500, MSCI World Equity Index, and FTSE 100 which have had respective annualized returns of +6.81%, +9.13%, and +3.88%, with more severe drawdowns of -20.15%, -17.24%, and -29.40%.”

Greenwich Alternative Investments, LLC (and its affiliates) manages one of the world's largest hedge fund databases and is among the oldest providers of hedge fund indices, asset management services and research to institutional investors worldwide.

13 Mar 2007

Union leaders to Develop International Response to Growth of Hedge Funds

Amid the spectacular growth of hedge funds investments, trade union leaders from more than 20 countries are to meet at OECD Headquarters in Paris on the 16 March to discuss the impact of hedge funds on employees’ job security and pensions.

In recent weeks the unions have had concerns about the employment impact of buy-outs and questions about hedge fund transparency, corporate governance and sustainability.

Concerns have also been raised at the increasing amounts of pension fund money being invested in private equity and in hedge funds and the working women and men whose employment, rights and working conditions may be threatened by the behavior of these funds.

"We are looking at the feasibility of an international response that includes information and consultation rights for workers and appropriate regulation and taxation by governments." said John Evans, General Secretary of the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD, co-organizers of the event.

TUAC said in a press release, "Union concern has mounted at the employment impact of buyouts by what are often shadowy investors using borrowed money. Concerns have also been raised at the increasing amounts of pension fund money being invested in private equity and in hedge funds."

Speakers will include experts from the OECD as well as John Monks, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation and Ron Blackwell, Chief Economist of the American Trade Union Center, the AFL-CIO. The TUAC represents 66 million workers in 56 affiliated trade union organizations in the 30 OECD member countries.

Activist Hedge Fund To Sell Stocks in Gartmore

Activist hedge fund Carrousel Capital had agreed to sell its shares in £386 million ($744.8 million) Gartmore European Investment Trust, refusing the option of a tender offer to close out its position at a tight discount. The hedge fund currently owns 28.03% of Gartmore and is its biggest shareholder.

Carrousel Capital said in informal talks with Gartmore that the hedge fund had plans to buy into the trust, then restructure it into an umbrella fund which could offer a range of investment mandates. However, Gartmore's European shareholders voted against proposals by Carrousel to put three new directors on the board to carry out the plan.

Bruno Sanglé-Ferrière, CEO of Carrousel said in a letter to shareholders, "Carrousel is not seeking, and has never sought, control of the fund. Neither is it seeking to wind-up the fund as has been suggested in some quarters. Carrousel's interest in the fund has already had a beneficial effect. Shareholders have seen the NAV discount narrow from 9% to less than 3% since we invested."

However, after the vote to sell the hedge fund's entire holding he said, "It's not a change of strategy. We tried to put people on the board and we failed. We want to put that behind us and close that chapter."

12 Mar 2007

Judge Orders Hedge Fund Disclosure In Northwest Case

Judge Allan Gropper of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York ordered hedge funds to disclose the details of their holdings in Northwest Airlines. "Any interest that individual committee members may have in keeping this information confidential is overridden."

Gropper's ruling enforces Bankruptcy Rule 2019, which says parties acting as a group must disclose certain information about their holdings. The decision requires the 13 hedge funds on the committee to make public information about trading patterns, holdings and pricing, which hedge funds, as a rule, prefer to keep secret.

The judge denied a request by the hedge fund committee, led by Owl Creek, who argued that forcing sophisticated investors to disclose trade information may hurt the secondary market for trading claims and equity. Gropper gave the funds until Wednesday to publicly state their stakes in Northwest, along with when and at what price they bought the securities.

Northwest Airlines said that it expected to be worth roughly $7 billion when it emerged from bankruptcy later this year and that it would pay unsecured creditors roughly three-quarters of what they were owed. The unsecured creditors also objected to sealing the documents, arguing that the public had a right to know how the hedge funds came to own about $264.7 million in claims, 30% of the airline's stock.

The hedge fund group collectively owns about 23 million Northwest shares, according to a court filing in January.

Hedge Fund Analyst Claims Flaws in SEC Rules

Hedge Fund Analyst Justin Meyer submitted public comments on an SEC Rule Proposal that would change the standards for who could invest in a hedge fund, raising the minimum net worth values.

Meyer is the Senior research analyst for IncreMental Advantage, a Princeton-based best practices think tank that publishes and speaks on breaking developments in issues ranging from hedge funds to water utilities. He said, "The idea behind accredited investors is a good one, but the concept is flawed," said Meyer. "The SEC wants to equate net worth, or investable income with investment acumen. The two simply are not related."

In the existing public comments, there is a frequently-seen criticism of this proposed rule: the idea that investable income is equal to investment ability (or put another way, that money does not equal intelligence.)

Hedge funds are growing more and more sophisticated every day. There is no denying this, Meyer said, "It makes sense for the Commission to want to protect investors who might not be able to make a fully informed decision no matter how much information they are given, to ensure that those who are investing in funds that trade in high-risk ventures are not going to go broke if this investment fails."

Mr. Meyer continued, discussing what really mattered in hedge fund investing, saying that due diligence was the most important thing. "The rule is meant to ensure that someone investing in a 'risky' investment understands that risk and can absorb it if they lose their money."

"However, the key to understanding risk isn't having $5 million or $10 million. It's examining the investment and looking at who you are entrusting your money to, looking at how much risk they are taking on with the investment and how they manage the risk." Meyer said.

9 Mar 2007

Major Shareholder Hedge Fund Buys Company

ValueAct Capital Management, a group of hedge funds based in San Fransisco, announced yesterday that they have agreed to buy Catalina Marketing Corp at $1.7 billion in cash or $32.10 a share, a 7.5% premium over the company's closing price of $29.85.

The hedge fund group also agreed to assume $135-million in debt from the St. Petersburg company known for its printers that dispense coupons and color ads in store checkout counters. ValueAct is also Catalina's biggest shareholder.

ValueAct is known for its activist slant and their strategy is to buy large stakes in undervalued companies and then work with the management to boost performance. Founded in 2000, the hedge fund manages some $1.5 billion on behalf of institutional and wealthy individual investors.

Dick Buell, chief executive officer of Catalina said that going private will allow the company to invest aggressively and grow with long-term goals, without the fear of Wall Street backlash.

The company said it expects the deal to close in the next several months, subject to approval by stockholders. Catalina joins a growing trend of public companies looking to go private.

New Hedge Fund Platform

SuperDerivatives announced the launch of First Cross-Asset, Turnkey Derivatives Platform for Hedge Funds and Asset Managers.

SD-Funds said in a press release that the platform is a breakthrough in hedge-fund technology. It includes all pre-trade and post-trade activities with features specifically designed for hedge fund and asset managers, covering all assets and derivatives classes. Backward testing of strategies allows accurate retroactive performance comparison of alternative derivatives trading strategies, based on detailed historical 12-year market data.

"We've created an extremely rich multi-asset solution for hedge funds and asset managers,..I am certain that SD-Funds will have a huge, positive impact on the hedge fund and asset management industries." said David Gershon, President and CEO of SuperDerivatives.

8 Mar 2007

Hedge Funds To Oust "Grand Theft Auto" CEO

Shares in the makers of the video game "Grand Theft Auto", Take-Two shot up nearly 8%, from $1.34, to $18.95 yesterday. The increase came immediately after investors including Steven Cohen's SAC Capital Advisors LLC and David Shaw's D.E. Shaw & Co., both hedge fund managers, announced the plan to remove the embattled video-game designer's CEO in a regulatory filing.

A group of high-profile hedge funds that collectively control about 46% of Take-Two Interactive Software has launched a proxy battle to "review the employment status" of CEO Paul Eibeler and CFO Karl Winters.

In addition to the management changes, the hedge fund group also is seeking to appoint a total of six board members. They plan to present their nominees at Take-Two's March 23 board meeting. The slate includes media honcho Strauss Zelnick, Benjamin Feder, Jon Moses, Michael Dornemann and Michael James Sheresky.

"Management has sort of lost the faith of the investor community,'' said Todd Mitchell, a Kaufman Brothers LP analyst in New York, in an interview. "A shake up would be a positive thing,'' said Mitchell. The investor group began forming in early February after veteran activist Carl Icahn floated the idea of agitating for change. At one point in 2006, he had 2.8 million shares.

Take-Two also remains the subject of a criminal investigation by the New York district attorney’s office regarding stock options backdating and possibly broader issues. The S.E.C. also has started an informal investigation into the video game company.

Hedge Fund N.I.R. Group Scores Highest %Increase

As combined assets at the largest U.S. hedge funds finally crossed the trillion-dollar mark, some are doing better than others. According to the bi-annual hedge fund survey by industry publication, Absolute Return, N.Y.-based NIR Group scored the biggest increase in raw percentages, a 789% increase.

The firm, run by Corey Ribotsky, manages a handful of Roslyn, N.Y. hedge funds with $630 million under management and approximately $622 million in PIPEinvestments.

Ribotsky also launched a credit opportunities fund last year. Under his direction, the firm raised more than $3 billion for the fund, expanding to $3.62 billion from $407 the previous year earlier, a 789% increase.

Ribotsky, 36, is the Managing Member of N.I.R. Group, LLC, a boutique investment management firm. Mr. Ribotsky has been investing in public companies since 1992. Prior to becoming a member of N.I.R., Mr. Ribotsky was a member of the investment management firm, The Rainmaker Group, LLC located in Red Bank, New Jersey.

The N.I.R. Group has offices in Roslyn, New York. Both R&C Advisors, LLC and R&C Investors, LLC are based in New York.

7 Mar 2007

Hedge Funds Driving Bank Stocks Up 50%

Hedge funds have acquired around 7% in Landesbank Berlin, the hedge funds hope to profit following the sales process, as the new majority stakeholder will be obliged to make minority shareholders a buyout offer, a report said.

The unnamed hedge funds are positioned to profit from the sale regardless of who buys the bank and their acquisitions have pushed the price up more than 50% to €7.57 in the past six months. The price values the bank at €7.6bn ($10bn), far more than its €4bn to €5bn price-tag.

The city state must sell its 81% stake in Landesbank Berlin by the end of this year to conform with EU directives. The sale is being closely watched in the financial sector because Landesbank Berlin owns Berliner Sparkasse and therefore represents the first real opportunity for private banks to enter the previously protected public savings bank sector.

"The free-float is firmly in the hands of hedge funds by now," said one adviser to a potential bidder, who declined to be named.

However, the small free-float, and the lack of liquidity has deterred hedge funds from taking big stakes while political risk has prevented the shares rising higher, according to one hedge fund adviser.

Hedge Fund Citadel Buys Bankrupt Company

Citadel Investment Group has topped Credit Suisse in an auction, agreeing to pay about $180 million for bankrupt ResMAE Mortgage Corp.

Citadel, a $13.4 billion Chicago-based hedge fund, said they will allow ResMAE, the bankrupt subprime mortgage lender, to work as an autonimous unit and allow founders Jack Mayesh and Ed Resendez to stay in control of the company. Subprime loans are offered to borrowers with spotty credit and lower incomes, the sector has descended into crisis as interest rates climbed from record lows.

ResMAE filed for bankruptcy in February, the firm said in the filing that it planned to sell most of its assets to Credit Suisse. However, hedge fund Citadel offered to pay $22.4 million, a break-up fee of up to $1.5 million plus ResMAE loans for 98.5% of their face value, or roughly $160 million.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Carey in Wilmington, Delaware, approved the sale on Monday afternoon, "Our financial support of ResMAE during this reorganization will allow one of the industry's leaders to remain appropriately capitalized to meet the needs of this very important market," Citadel's Ken Griffin said in a statement.

Other hedge funds are also expanding into this area, in July, hedge fund Fortress Investment Group LLC paid $554.3 million for the subprime lending arm of Dallas-based homebuilder Centex Corp. Then in December, Fortress also bought Champion Mortgage's loan- underwriting business from KeyCorp.

Since its founding as a $4.6 million convertible arbitrage fund in 1990, Citadel has grown into a sophisticated alternative investment institution. The hedge fund has seven main areas of focus including equities, fixed income and energy trading.

6 Mar 2007

Survey Shows US Hedge Funds to Hold $1,200 Billion In Assets

The biannual survey of US hedge funds shows that 241 firms, each managing more than $1bn, held a combined total of nearly $1,200bn as of January 1.

According to a new survey conducted by Absolute Return magazine, money continued to flow steadily into alternative investments last year, causing the combined assets of the largest US hedge funds to climb well above the $1,000bn mark.

That is about $215bn more than the top 218 firms were managing this past summer and $347bn more than the top 207 firms were running at the beginning of last year. The huge increases last year came in spite of hedge fund closures, including that of $9.1bn Amaranth Advisors, which erased $35bn from the market.

The biggest new launch of last year, Convexity Capital Management, joined the top-60 US hedge funds in its first year, making it the most successful hedge fund launch in history, raising $6.3bn.

The top 20 firms, which held $258bn last January, now manage nearly $386bn. There are now 29 firms that run more than $10bn, up from 16 last year, and well ahead of the 12 that managed such large huge sums in July 2005.

In the number one spot JPMorgan unseated Goldman Sachs as the world's largest manager of hedge fund assets, with $34bn under management.

5 Mar 2007

Hedge Fund Manager Merger Creates the World's No 2 Visitor Attraction Company

Some of the biggest brand names in the global theme park market today announced a partnership of two rapidly growing businesses, The Tussauds Group and Merlin Entertainments Group, making them the world's second biggest attractions operator after Disney.

Merlin Entertainments Group is known for theme parks such as Legoland, Sealife and several others. The company is controlled by hedge fund manager Blackstone Group.

On the merger with Merlin, international investment company Dubai International Capital LLC said, "Tussauds and Merlin are very complementary businesses and there is an obvious commercial logic in bringing them together."

The Tussauds Group is controlled by Dubai International which is known for its $1.23 billion acquisition of Travelodge, its $1 billion stake in DaimlerChrysler, and the $1.2 billion acquisition of Doncasters Group.

The Blackstone Group has raised a total of more then $67 billion for hedge fund and alternative investments since its formation. The group is currently investing its fifth general private equity fund with commitments of $15.6 billion. Other private equity investments in the leisure sector have included Universal Studios in Orlando, and Six Flags Theme Park.

High Fees Reduce the Attractiveness of Hedge Funds

A recent study on the effect of the fees that hedge funds charge, “Portfolio Efficiency With Performance Fees,” was conducted by Mark Kritzman, president and chief executive of Windham Capital Management, a Boston-based money management firm.

Mr. Kritzman’s study shows that hedge funds’ high fees make it unlikely that investors will improve their long-term performance by putting money into hedge funds. Focusing on the standard fee arrangement in the industry, known as “2 and 20″, which is to charge 2% of assets under management and 20% of profits above a predetermined benchmark, Mr Kritzman found that the combined impact of such fees is so high as to greatly reduce the attractiveness of hedge funds.

In an interview with the New York Times, Mr Kritzman said the fees’ effect on the portfolio was so sizable because of the “asymmetry penalty” resulting from the 20% cut of profits that the hedge funds earn. The funds do not share in investor losses, but they reap a large share of the profits.

The study was similarly disparaging about funds of hedge funds, saying he found it difficult to justify any allocation to funds of hedge funds, because they earn fees above and beyond those earned by the hedge funds in which they invest, typically 1% of funds under management and 10% of profits above a benchmark. The bottom line, Mr. Kritzman told the New York Times, is this: “Because of fees, the optimal allocation to a group of hedge funds is a lot lower than you might think it should be.”

2 Mar 2007

Disclosure Ruling Has Hedge Funds Retreating

Judge Allan Gropper of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York this week ordered a group of hedge funds that were demanding the formation of a shareholders committee to disclose all of their holdings in the airline, when they were purchased and for how much.

Soon after the disclosure ruling the hedge fund shareholders withdrew their motion to have a say in the payment deals after the Northwest Airline Corp reorganization. Hedge funds are known for their fiercely guarded trading secrets and so far have succeeded in resisting regulation.

The shareholder group led by Owl Creek hedge fund has said it holds a total of 30% of Northwest's stock and about $164.7 million in claims. Northwest said shareholders will receive nothing and existing shares will be canceled upon the carrier’s exit from bankruptcy.

Gropper's ruling would enforce Bankruptcy Rule 2019, which says parties in a Chapter 11 case acting as a group must disclose certain information about their holdings. The decision requires the 13 investment funds on the official committee to make public information about trading patterns, holdings and pricing, which hedge funds have labored for decades to keep secret.

Citigroup Exec Quits to Launch Hong Kong Hedge Fund

Ajay Kapur, a top Citigroup executive is leaving the firm to found his own hedge fund, according to reports.

Kapur is returning to Hong Kong, where he has residency rights, to set up a hedge fund called First Horse Capital with Niall MacLeod and two other members of Kapur's team that also left Citigroup. Kapur's new fund will invest in equities globally.

Kapur said the results of investment models that he and his team had devised were "pretty good." and that, "I just thought that one should eat one's own cooking,"Kapur said from London. The fund is based in Hong Kong in order to get information from China, India, Japan, "you need to be closer and on the ground." he said.

Asian hedge funds returned 16.1% last year, compared to the 11.5% gains of their counterparts in North America and 11.35% in Europe, according to indexes run by Eurekahedge, a company in Singapore that tracks the industry.

Kapur has followed a well-worn path from investment banking to hedge funds, other Wall Street advisers have also joined Asia-based hedge funds and buyout firms. In January, the chairman of J.P. Morgan Asia Pacific, Ralph Parks, joinedOaktree Capital Management, a Los Angeles hedge fund with more than $33 billion in assets.

First Horse Capital, named for the Indian cavalry regiment Kapur's father served in, will invest in stocks worldwide. Kapur declined to say how much money he's raised for First Horse Capital.

Hedge Fund News: Heads of US Hedge Fund Study Group Warn Against Over Regulation

Hedge Fund News: Heads of US Hedge Fund Study Group Warn Against Over Regulation

1 Mar 2007

Hedge Fund Shareholders Withdraw from Northwest Deal

Hedge fund shareholders withdrew their motion to have a say in the payment deals after the Northwest Airline Corp reorganization, surprising U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper. The hedge fund committee claims that Jugde Gropper has not allowed an investigation into whether Northwest plans to merge with Delta.

The temporary committee of hedge fund investors tried to subpoena rival airlines that may have held merger talks with Northwest, in a effort to prove that it is worth more than it claims. Northwest said shareholders will receive nothing and existing shares will be canceled upon the carrier’s exit from bankruptcy.

The shareholder group led by the Owl Creek hedge fund has been fighting Northwest’s claims that there won’t be enough cash to pay the shareholders after the bankruptcy reorganization.

Northwest Airlines said it had a net loss of $349 million for January. Revenue was $892 million, the carrier said in a filing with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.

Northwest Airlines said that it expected to be worth roughly $7 billion when it emerged from bankruptcy later this year and that it would pay unsecured creditors roughly three-quarters of what they were owed.

Ritchie to Sell Flagship Hedge Fund

Ritchie Capital Management Ltd has been struggling for two years now with below-average returns and the word is out that the company plans to sell its flagship hedge fund to equal partners in the venture, Reservoir Capital Group and Coller Capital.

Ritchie Capital, which oversees about $2.8 billion including borrowed money, will liquidate its Multistrategy Global Fund and return cash to investors. The company told investors that the Ritchie Capital Management flagship multi-strategy hedge fund had about $730 million in assets in mid-2006.

Richie is negotiating to sell the flagship hedge fund's assets to Reservoir, the $3 billion hedge fund investor, and Coller, which manages about $3.5 billion, in a deal that could be worth more than $1 billion. According to the deal with Coller, the current chief executive, Thane Ritchie, may continue to manage the fund after the sale.

Chicago-based Ritchie, a diversified hedge fund group that faced an extended period of under performance and investor demands for capital returns, has been in exclusive talks with Reservoir and Coller for several months to buy the flagship fund, sources have said.