Simons’ preferred cigarette may not be of the jazz variety, but you’ll find him wherever there’s money to be made.

If there’s anything Renaissance Technologies founder James Simons likes better than making money, preferably without lifting a finger for it, it’s a refreshing hit of nicotine to his alveoli. Actually, it’s an essentially never-ending sequence of those drags. But while his own personal preferred intoxicant and carcinogen is tobacco, Simons knows there are others out there: After all, this man went to Berkeley and was a college professor in the 1960s. And now, he sees an opportunity to combine his twin loves of smoking and making money.

In the last two quarters, billionaire, hedge fund manager, and mathematical genius Jim Simons has moved decisively into the cannabis sector, taking large positions in both Aurora Cannabis and Aphria…. Simons’ new positions in cannabis are considerable. Per the 13F filings, his firm purchased 788,595 shares of ACB, for $6.3 million, in Q1, and followed up in Q2 with an additional 905,305 shares at $7.1 million. Also in Q2, Simons picked up 241,500 shares of Aphria, at $1.7 million. Clearly, Simons sees something of value in the cannabis sector.

Speaking of disease-causing inhalants in which people see value for some reason….

U.S. e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc has raised $325 million in an equity and debt offering to speed up its global reach at a time of intense regulatory scrutiny in its home market.

No word on whether RenTech got in on that one, too.

Hedge Fund Legend Jim Simons Pours Money Into Aurora Cannabis (ACB) and Aphria (APHA) Stocks [Yahoo! Finance]
Juul raises $325 million in equity and debt financing for global expansion [Reuters]

Related

This Is A Story About A Guy Telling A Random Dude On The Street "I'm actually building a hedge fund that uses quantitative strategies to pick stocks" And That Dude Actually Being Jim Simons

Something we've long-maintained around the Dealbreaker office is that hedge fund manager Jim Simons would make a great fairy godmother, what with his soothing voice, white beard, and the fact that he's really just a lovable math teacher who happened to make a zillion dollars by tinkering away the computers in his garage and would be happy to lend the powers of his magic cigarette wand to those in need.  So we were extremely pleased to have our attention brought to an anecdote from Scott Patterson's Dark Pools, in which Simons seems to appear out of nowhere, just like a FGM would, sprinkles unexpected gifts on a young man and woman (of both hope* and nicotine), and then disappears as quickly as he came via golden carriage. (We also appreciate that Simons is the kind of FGM that will laugh in your face as you explain to him what a quant fund is, not realizing he's got some experience there.) One day in the summer of 2006, Fleiss was having lunch outdoors with his girlfriend at a restaurant on the Upper East Side. As they chatted in the sun after their meal, an elderly man dressed in a modest suit walked out of the restaurant and lit up a cigarette. Fleiss's girlfriend bummed a smoke off him, and they began to chat. "So what do you do?" he asked Fleiss. "I'm actually building a hedge fund that uses quantitative strategies to pick stocks," he said. "Oh really?" The man laughed. "Where did you go to school?" "Amherst." "Good school. You know, I'm also in the quant biz." Fleiss asked where he worked, but the man wouldn't answer. But Fleiss kept pushing. Finally, the man said he ran a fund called Renaissance Technologies. Fleiss nearly fell out of his chair. He wanted to talk more, but a gleaming Bentley had just pulled to the curb and Jim Simons quickly disappeared into it. Dark Pools [Scott Patterson] Related: Who Wants to Become A Rebellion Research Investor? *That some of his quant-i-ness would rub off on the guy.