hedge fund managers

Politician and education reformer Horace Mann once said that “Education..beyond all other devices of human condition, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery.” Another great equalizer, if only a fleeting one, is reportedly the men’s room at this week’s Milken Institute conference, which treats ex-politicians, journalists on assignment, and multi-billionaire hedge fund managers all the same. Read more »

Last Thursday, in an interview with CNBC, Carl Icahn said something so shocking that the only logical explanation for the words passing his lips was that he’d been drinking (which he had). With cameras rolling, Icahn told David Faber, of fellow hedge fund manager Bill Ackman: “We have our differences, but I never said he’s not a smart guy. I think the concept of this [bid with Valeant to buy Allergan] is good. I hope it works out better for him than Herbalife did, and I think it will…There’s nothing wrong with making a bid for a company and using someone else’s funds.” That Icahn had anything remotely nice, much less complimentary, to say about Ackman was so surprising because since 2005, following a disagreement over an investment, the men have shared feelings for one another that can be summed up thusly: they hate each other. You know this, I know this, the maître d’ at Marea knows this. And yet there Icahn was, saying nice things about a guy who in the past he’s called, via press release, a shitty investor for whom he has no respect; who he’s described, on CNBC, as “the crybaby in the school yard“; and who he’s sworn, in at least one interview, that he’d never invest with again. (For his part, Ackman has called Icahn a liar who “takes advantage of little people,” whose offer of friendship he didn’t have to think twice about before turning down.)

What made Carl change his tune? Was it more than just the booze? For now, that remains unclear. What is clear is that someone was watching and was touched by the comments, martini-fueled or not. Because less than 48 hours later, this happened: Read more »


Last night, in an interview with CNBC, Carl Icahn had this to say about fellow hedge fund manager Bill Ackman and his recent bid with drugmaker Valiant Pharmaceuticals for Botox maker Allergan:

“We have our differences, but I never said he’s not a smart guy. I think the concept of this is good. I hope it works out better for him than Herbalife did, and I think it will…There’s nothing wrong with making a bid for a company and using someone else’s funds.”

Those of you who’ve kept up with Icahn and Ackman’s relationship know that Icahn saying he never said Ackman’s “not a smart guy” represents a complete 180 from his comments about the Pershing Square manager in the past. Those include but are not limited to:

  • To the New York Times: “How many times have judges been wrong? How many people have gone to the death chamber because they’re wrong? Ackman is dead wrong.”
  • On BloombergTV: “…it’s no secret I don’t like Ackman”
  • Also on BloombergTV: “I have no respect for him and I don’t like him and that’s not a secret.”
  • In the same interview on BloombergTV: “I dislike the guy, I don’t respect him, I’ve done business with him and he wasn’t forthright…that’s my opinion.”
  • Via press release: “To get the record straight, I never asked Ackman to be my friend.”
  • In the same press release: “Bill Ackman has recently stated ‘Carl Icahn is a great investor.’ I thank him but unfortunately I cannot return the compliment.”
  • On CNBC: “I was minding my own business in 2003 and I get a call from this Ackman guy and he’s like the crybaby in the school yard. I went to a tough school in Queens and they used to beat up the little Jewish boys and he was like these little Jewish boys crying saying the world was taking advantage of him. He was almost sobbing. And he’s in my office talking about this Hallwood deal and how I can help him. It’s like in the old song, I rue the day I ever met the guy.”
  • In the same interview on CNBC: “He’s the quintessential example of if you want a friend, get a dog.”
  • CNBC: “I wouldn’t invest with [Ackman] if [he] were the last man on earth.”

So to hear Icahn not only describe Ackman as not not smart but to compliment his “concept” was more than a little bit surprising. But why the about face? It’s possible it had something to do what happens at 2:58 here: Read more »

… [John Paulson] is wading into a local housing controversy and arguing that a large-scale home proposed for a small-scale historic neighborhood on Hill Street in Southampton poses a “threat to our character” and the “peace and tranquility that makes our village what it is.” Mr. Paulson is one of some 85 area homeowners who penned letters to a local village review board. They object variously to the size, scale, scope and “visual incompatibility” of a speculative home planned on a vacant lot in an area where nearly a dozen nearby residences are more than a century old and roughly half or a third the size. The letter writers—socialites, financiers, artists, developers and the scions of a president and a governor—are opposing current plans for the 5,531-square-foot, single-family home on a 1.2-acre parcel being developed by Joe Farrell, a Hamptons builder whom critics have dubbed the “King of McMansions.” [WSJ via BI, related]

The activist investor won’t beat you up like he did to the kids back in Queens, sayeth eBay CEO John Donahoe. Read more »

  • 04 Apr 2014 at 2:20 PM

Dan Loeb Only Has Two Problems With Sotheby’s

Ahead of the company’s annual meeting on May 6, he would like to remind shareholders what those two problems are: 1. He (still) thinks management sucks and 2. In Loeb’s opinion, Team Sotheby’s knows dick about selling art. Read more »

As those of you who keep close tabs on the trials and travails of La Familia Falcone know, one of the biggest mistakes Phil made in the last several years was the time he borrowed $113 million from a gated investor fund to cover personal taxes, for which he had failed to set aside enough cash. Falcone learned the hard way that clients don’t take kindly to these sorts of things– even if you pay them back, with interest– and that the Securities and Exchange Commission doesn’t either. Point taken, all that jazz. In retrospect, it might even make sense to Phil re: why people got upset. Having said that, there is no way he, or anyone for that matter, could have predicted anyone would get their panties in a twist over this: Read more »