Last month, Jeff Vinik was telling clients that planned to raise more money and was more focused than ever on running his eponymous hedge fund. Last week, he wrote them to say, "Eh, not so much."
"After a great deal of consideration, we have made the difficult decision to return our investors' funds," Mr. Vinik wrote in a Friday letter to investors….
He added that while he and founding partner Mike Gordon were "very proud of our excellent long-term record of 17% annualized returns since we started VAM in 1996, the last 10 months have been more difficult…following our restructuring." As part of the restructuring, Mr. Vinik took on a more managerial role, including deciding how much money his employees should manage, and added a new investment team. Mr. Vinik also moved the firm from Boston to Tampa, Fla., home of the professional hockey team that he owns, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Wall Street Journal reported in April that investors had asked for about $1.5 billion in withdrawals, or about 18% of the $8 billion the firm managed, as its performance and restructuring created unease in some quarters that Mr. Vinik had lost focus.
So, after 33 years of doing one thing, Vinik will focus on running his hockey and arena football teams, his philanthropy, and perhaps the world-renowned charms of his new hometown.