Fund Managers Donated $1 Million to GOP Election Deniers [Bloomberg]
Political action committees of BlackRock Inc., Vanguard Group, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Fidelity Investments, State Street Corp. and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. contributed to one or more of those legislators in election cycles since 2016…. Billionaire hedge fund founder Ken Griffin has supported several of the Republican objectors in recent years. In October 2018, he contributed to Missouri Rising Action -- a single-candidate PAC supporting Senator Josh Hawley. In 2020, Griffin donated the legal maximum of $2,800 to several House members who opposed Electoral College votes.
SPAC Mania Gives Early Investors Steady Returns With Little Risk [WSJ]
As the vehicles become more popular, the hedge funds that invest in them early on, such as Magnetar Capital, Glazer Capital and Israel Englander’s Millennium Management, can earn lofty returns without much risk…. Hedge funds give the SPAC money for up to two years while it looks for a merger target. In return, they get a unique right to withdraw their investment before a deal goes through that minimizes any loss on the trade….
Michael Ohlrogge, an assistant professor of law at New York University… and Stanford Law School’s Michael Klausner studied SPACs that merged between January 2019 and June 2020 and found that hedge funds nearly always sold their shares or withdrew before deal completion. The average annualized return for those that withdrew was 11.6%.
“Hedge funds see 90% approval rating from investors in 2020” HFM and AIMA find [press release]
45% of investors plan to increase their allocation to hedge funds, with more than half maintaining their allocation to other alternative investments…. The expectation of even stronger returns is the principle reason (64%) for this increase, followed by equity valuation concerns (39%). Meanwhile, 32% of investors regard hedge funds as a possible long-term replacement for fixed income due to the continuing low rate environment.
Visa abandons takeover of Plaid after DOJ raises antitrust concerns [CNBC]
The deal hit a snag late last year after the DOJ pointed out Visa’s acquisition could eliminate a nascent competitive threat. The DOJ cited Visa CEO Al Kelly’s description of the deal as an “insurance policy” to neutralize a “threat to our important US debit business.”
London Stock Exchange gets EU nod for $27 billion takeover of Refinitiv [Reuters]
A combined LSE and Refinitiv will still be eclipsed by Bloomberg LP, but will outrank a combination of S&P and IHS Markit, whose $44 billion tie-up was announced last year.
‘The death of the city being overblown’, Canary Wharf strategy exec says [FN]
There are currently 5,000 people at Canary Wharf at the moment, Howard Dawber told BBC Radio 4, in comparison to 100,000 on a normal day with between 30,000 and 40,000 visitors on top of that…. “I do think that the future of people coming together to work…and the role of city centres in that is secure,” Dawber said on 13 January. The real estate company develops, manages and owns interests in around 7.5 million square feet of office in the capital, namely the London docklands financial services hub Canary Wharf.
Prosecutors Say Wealth, Fame Motivated Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes’s Alleged Crimes [WSJ]
Ms. Holmes and California prosecutors are sparring over what details a judge will allow into the trial in July, with fights over not only her wealth, but also testimony from Theranos patients who received inaccurate blood results and internal emails prosecutors say show the company trying to evade lab inspectors…. In one email that prosecutors included in their filings, Theranos’s lab director wrote in November 2014: “I am feeling pressured to vouch for results that I cannot be confident in.” Mr. Balwani said in an email to Ms. Holmes the next day that the lab director should be fired…. She’s also challenging a government motion that argues she shouldn’t be able to defend herself by saying Silicon Valley startup founders frequently exaggerate or make dramatic promises to attract money, arguing the request is far too vague.
Hedge Fund Trader Faces Extradition to Belgium in Cum-Ex Probe [Bloomberg]
Guenther Klar, who previously worked for Shah’s Solo Capital hedge fund, is being sought for questioning by Belgian prosecutors as part of an investigation into Cum-Ex trading…. At least three countries, Belgium, Denmark and Germany, are seeking the extradition of London financial professionals related to Cum-Ex strategies. Prosecutors say investors illegally made billions of euros by rapidly trading shares to obtain multiple refunds on dividend taxes paid only once.