Michael Bolton offspring Holly Bolotin is allegedly suing Pirate Capital founder Tom Hudson. Longtime DealBreaker readers know that Bolton’s daughters Holly and Isa were employed, in a variety of capacities (investor relations, stock picker, fluffer), by the hedge fund for a year or so. In December, Isa left for Silver Point Capital in Greenwich, and Holly was presumed to have been made redundant by Hudson’s new girlfriend sometime in February. Apparently Holly took issue with her firing. Enter the suit. This is deeply saddening, for several reasons. 1. The incurred legal fees could be the final nail in the coffin for Pirate, which previously managed almost $2 billion, and is now at (ballparking it) 14 large and 2. If the scions of Michael Bolton can’t put on a soft rock ballad and get along, there’s really little to no hope for the rest of us.
Things, making money-wise, have not been going so well at Tom Hudson’s Pirate Capital for a while now, but we assumed that the addition of Michael Bolton’s daughters, Isa and Holly Bolotin, to payroll as girlfriends and fund managers would straighten things out. When Isa left to join Silver Point Capital in December, we were slightly nervous but held it together, confident that Holly’s masterful stewardship of assets would be enough. Then Hudson got a new lady who soon became his fiance and somewhere along the line the last remaining Bolton offspring got pushed out and now all hell has broken loose:
To: tips at dealbreaker dot com
Subject: Pirates abandon ship??
Your favorite Pirates seem to be moving out of Norwalk. Put up a sign in the lobby cafe of their building selling their chairs for $500.00 and seem to be moving other desks out of the office today..
Pirate Capital Founder’s Betrothed To Advise Him On A Few New Positions In Order To Better Retain ClientsBy Bess Levin
I’m having just as good a time as the next guy writing about fucking hookers but let’s take a quick break from that and talk about love—Pirate Capital founder Tom Hudson is getting married. The lucky lady is Virginia Zampella, who Hudson met on SugarDaddyForMe.com. As girlfriends of the pirate are wont to do, Zampella has unofficially appointed herself office manager, with T-bone’s approval.
Allegedly, her first order of business was to get rid of all the women who worked there prior to her being hired/engaged. Next: turn things around at the floundering, 15-large AUM hedge fund. Now, I know what you must be asking yourselves—where does Zampella get off thinking she can “get things back on track” at Pirate, which is what she’s supposedly telling people she plans to do? The answer lies in her prior work experience, which maybe includes being employed as a call girl in New York and Charlotte, and starring in a few adult films. If anything, Virginia runs the risk of classing/smartening the place up a bit too much for the ragtag crew of scallywags, buggerers and alpha destroyers. What’s more, the future Mrs. Hudson #4 has a criminal record (mugshot TK). What I’m getting at is that she’d be probably be more comfortable at a place like GSAM. I’ll make some calls.
Earlier: Yo Ho, Blow the Man Down
We’ve been writing a lot about NYC Pocket Change’s upcoming speed dating event, for “rich old women and hot young men” i.e. the greatest spectator sport of all time (Thursday!) and although many of you are all for being made kept boys, there remain a few who are uncomfortable with the shift in gender dynamics. Obviously I’m talking about Pirate Capital manager Tom Hudson and obviously I’m referring to his profile on SugarDaddyForMe.com, which purports to be “The Real Sugar Daddy Website.” It was recently forwarded our way and though we like to be skeptical about this sort of stuff after having been burned by the fake James Simons listing on CollarMe.com, nothing about the profile seems so outlandish as to have been made up by one of Hudson’s many, many disgruntled former employees. The part about his income being “more than $1,000,000” seems to be a bit of an exaggeration, considering that his flagship fund is currently managing about five bucks, to say nothing of all the dinero he sunk into printing up those proxy battle t-shirts, but I’m sure everyone rounds up on these things. Anywho.
The 6’1, 42 year-old Caucasian is looking for a 25-32 year-old cupcake with a “sense of humor” and “a brain” (not sure if that’s slang for waxed nether regions, I’ve heard it is). You must live in New York or being willing to relocate. You also “must be white.” No brown sugar for this sugar daddy. “Refined” only, thank you very much.
You might wonder if we have a problem with the racist overtones contained in Tom’s profile. We don’t. If that’s his thing, well, that’s his thing. What we have a problem with is the fact that the existence of this listing is more or less proof that Hudson couldn’t make it work with Isa Bolotin, or sister Holly. And if the scions of soft rock can’t make it work with this guy, it’s probably a good indication that no one can (though Blarney will certainly try). And that’s a shame on par with Pirate seeing about five units* worth of redemptions, because he already built that huge mausoleum, and if the slot for “dead wife” goes unfilled, well, that’s just embarrassing.
Nevertheless, we’re not giving up hope yet. In fact, we encourage the young ladies to give him a call on his direct line (203-890-2000). Other pertinent info, after the jump.
Subject: Pirate News – Isa’s leaving
Sent: Friday, December 07, 2007 2:41 PM
You replied on 12/7/2007 2:41 PM.
Unfortunately it looks one of Bess’ favorite combinations – Pirate Capital and Michael Bolton – has come to and end. Isa Bolotin is going to Silver Point Capital in Greenwich.
Luckily, Bolton Daughter #2, Holly, is still on the ship’s payroll, though for what, we’re not sure. Still, Isa’s departure is obviously a significant loss, inflicting wounds on our souls that only soft rock ballads can (attempt) to heal.
Earlier: Things At Pirate Capital Worse Than We Thought
It’s common knowledge that Tom Hudson has pretty much run Pirate Capital into the ground, by allowing Michael Bolton’s daughters to construct all discounted cash flow models, structure all pair trades and calculate the firm’s daily alpha. You knew that, we knew that, the employees at the Local PetSmart, who work on commission and had come to expect a minimum buy/day of whatever a truckload of minnows costs from Hudson knew that. Fucking Michael Bolton knew that. The one person who didn’t know that, or wouldn’t admit it to investors (“We’re having a great year!” “Don’t buy the hype!” “I’ve got a great pick called SMD that’s going to make us all rich!” he wrote last month) was Tom Hudson. Brother was in serious denial and was getting hard to watch. No longer.
Who’s Running Pirate Capital (Into The Ground)? If You’re Not A Michael Bolton Fan, The Answer May Surprise YouBy Bess Levin
In September 2006, Pirate Capital was managing $1.802 billion. Today? Less than $400 million. September 2006? Interns were given the special assignment to go down the road to buy minnows for bigger fish to devour to the leering delight of a staff busy not executing profitable trades. Today? Tom Hudson is forced to make his own trips to PetSmart. You could blame the changes in AUM and aquatic life responsibilities on simply a run of bad luck, or recent market turbulence, but the story we’re hearing (from, yes, a maybe unreliable source) sounds slightly more plausible, if you know how Tom Hudson feels about soft rock ballads.
Apparently Isa Bolotin isn’t the only offspring of Michael Bolton neé Bolotin working at Pirate (in the increasingly irrelevant role of director of investor relations). Bolton’s other daughter, Holly, is currently on payroll as personal assistant to Hudson, which, according to some people, carries the responsibility of making decisions regarding workforce cutbacks. Supposedly, the Pirate staff, which is now down to five, let go of three employees this week (without severance, natch) because Holly told big T to get rid of them, on suspicion that (and this is almost better than the Michael Bolton connection) they posted incriminating comments about her on a Wall Street tabloid. (To her credit, Holly only thought it was one of them, but all three were terminated to be sure all bases were covered.) If you believe that, then you’ll also believe the broader allegation from our source that Hudson “blindly does whatever the Bolotin girls tell him to do, and will be able to blame them when he’s forced to shutter the fund.” Pirate Capital would not confirm or deny any part of the story, because they would not permit us to ask any questions. Their phones are apparently programmed to hang up, after a hand is placed over the receiver and whispers are exchanged, when the word “dealbreaker” is mentioned. Twice.
Earlier: What The Seed Of Michael Bolton Hath (Possibly) Wrought
Congratulations to Tom Hudson, whose hedge fund ended its proxy battle with Angelica, a healthcare linens company, after Angelica kowtowed to the Jolly Rogers’ demand to explore a possible sale. In July, the Pirate team, which owns approximately 9.8 percent of Angelica, told the firm to put itself on the block or prepare to go to war, and nominated two of its own to the board. Angelica stated yesterday that has given its financial adviser Morgan Joseph* the green light to pursue a sale. Hudson then withdrew his nominees for the board, based on the assumption that Morgan Joseph will have time to work on a deal, what with inner-office bitching between associates and analysts taking up a large portion of the day.
Though a previous proxy fight with energy company Aquila saw Pirate distributing buttons and t-shirts, circumstances of late, including but not limited to managed assets falling to $375 million from last year’s $1.802 billion, rendered the free-gift with purchase deal too costly. Why nobody thought to offer burned copies of Michael Bolton’s greatest hits is beyond us. Hindsight.
Pirate Ceases Fire on Angelica [HedgeFund.net]
From the mailbag:
Date: Sep 25, 2007 12:18 AM
Subject: Pirate August Reports & AUM Sept 2007
The monthly was written by a junior analyst name Tassos. Isa Bolotin, Director of Investor Relations, is too busy managing her volatile relationship with Tom Hudson. Hudson is too busy planning the $1mm mausoleum for his clan.
Funny Pirate’s only treasure of the month was generated by the most senior analyst that left the firm in early Sept. Who else do they have to put new names on the books? No one. Notice that Pirate’s shipwrecks in August is basically its entire portfolio as Pirate sold out of every position except for the four names (BCO, PBY, AGL, and ADG). Can’t wait to see the upcoming “Confidential Report.”
I highly doubt Pirate has cash to deploy. Its top 4 holdings total about $270mm. According to the AUM as of Sept 07, Pirate listed $374mm. I bet they have over $100mm in redemptions at the end off September.
First of all, we don’t know actually know if there’s anything impure going on between Pirate Captain Tom Hudson and Michael Bolton’s daughter, Isa Bolotin. It would represent a grave error on both their parts—for Isa, because the guy’s two bad bets away from sleeping on her couch and being asked, “Have you moved from that position when I left this morning?”, for Tom, because “Can I Touch You There” takes on entirely new meaning when the person inquiring is your girlfriend’s father.
What we do know is that the Jolly Roger’s two activist funds, Activist Fund LP and Activist Fund LTD were both down -6.43% in August, -24.39% /-22.84% August YTD, and -16.17%/-14.65% since inception. And that in September 2006, Pirate was managing $1.802 billion. September 2007? $375 million. If those numbers don’t say “Let me get back to you on those redemption requests, I’m getting a BJ from the investor relations woman right now,” we don’t know what does. (In which case, good for them. Shame about those losses, though.)
Pirate AUM Sept 2007 [pdf]
Pirate Returns August 2007 [pdf]
Pirate August Monthly 2007 [pdf]
Tom Hudson’s Pirate Capital is kinda-sorta denying reports that it’s assets are down almost 80 percent in the past year. He describes the reports from “various media” as “grossly misleading.”
But are they? Pirate Capital’s assets are way, way down. Here’s Tom’s full statement:
Various media have published grossly misleading information regarding results at funds managed by Pirate Capital. Some reports have suggested that Pirate funds lost almost 80 percent of their value in the past year. In fact, while assets under management have decreased, average returns over Pirate’s four funds during the last year are about plus 4 percent.
Pirate Capital remains committed to its event-driven strategy to create value for its investors.
Two things. First: what the hell does that mean? As best we can tell, Tom means that Pirate’s assets have diminished due to investor redemptions rather than just losses in the funds.
Second: that “average returns” business is pretty dodgy. There are lots of ways to calculate an average and there’s no way to tell which method Tom is using here. The “average returns” over Pirate’s four funds only matter to investors who are in all four funds. If you’re in just one, it doesn’t really help that the average returns are sailing in calm seas. You’re already off to blackout island if you’re in one of the two activist funds. Goldman Sachs has positive average returns but that hardly helps investors in Global Alpha.
Pirate Capital Statement Regarding Funds [Biz Wire Press Release]
No one is getting off the Jolly Roger alive. Bloomberg is reporting that Tom Hudson’s Pirate Capital is shanghaiing investors, forcing them to remain on board its two Jolly Roger Activist funds by halting redemptions. The firm’s assets have declined by almost 80 percent in the past year, according to Bloomberg.
Pirate has said that the four stocks held by the funds are special investments—which, as best we can tell, means that Pirate isn’t willing to sell them immediately to meet redemption requests. The two funds, which are not even two years old, have declined from $150 million to $100 million since they were launched.
So what are the special investments?
“Hudson’s letter didn’t identify the four stocks held by the activist funds. Pirate’s biggest holdings as of June 30 were armored carmaker Brink’s Co.; auto-parts retailer Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack; U.S. energy supplier Aquila Inc; and Angelica Corp., a provider of laundry and textile-rental services,” Bloomberg reports.
All is not lost for the Pirates however. They may not have much left in terms of assets. But they still have that special thing called “hope.” Bloomberg notes that while Pirate will continue to charge its 2 percent management fee, it “won’t collect its 20 percent cut of any profits until after until the positions are no longer deemed special investments.”