The Morning Brief: Marathon Joins Magnetar in Landlord Trade

New York-based hedge fund firm Marathon Asset Management is the latest hedge fund to get into the landlord game, albeit accidentally, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The firm is the largest creditor of bankrupt Pacific Lumber Co., which previously owned the northern California town of Scotia, which has a population of approximately 1,000. Marathon was awarded the one-time company town, along with other assets, as part of the bankruptcy proceedings, and it now owns an 18.5 percent stake in the restructured company. Chicago-based hedge fund firm Magnetar Capital is also betting on residential real estate, though it is doing so more deliberately. The firm recently purchased a rental business with some 1,900 properties in a suburb of Dayton, Ohio, according to a Bloomberg report in October.

Hopkins, Minnesota-based commodity hedge fund firm Black River Asset Management recently upped its stake in Manila-based agribusiness firm AgriNurture, acquiring 15 million shares and boosting its total stake to 30 percent, according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Black River is controlled by commodities giant Cargill.

Gottex Fund Management, a Switzerland-based fund-of-funds firm, is the latest investment shop to roll out a mutual fund that will invest in alternative assets, including hedge funds, according to a Reuters report. The firm’s Gottex Endowment Strategy Fund is launching this week with $100 million in assets. Investors can get access to hedge funds including New York-based long-short equity firm Tremblant Capital for a minimum investment of just $1,000, according to the report. Gottex revealed earlier this month that it agreed to acquire Arpad Busson’s fund-of-funds firm EIM Group in a stock-for-stock deal valued at a little more than $35 million. The deal will boost the combined firms’ assets to nearly $10 billion.

Hedge fund manager Robert Wilson, who founded Wilson & Associates in 1969, committed suicide by jumping from his 16th-floor apartment on Central Park West, according to the Chicago Tribune. Wilson’s fortune topped out at $800 million, according to his accountant, but he gave most of it away, donating some $500 million to various charities. He spent five decades on Wall Street, working as an analyst before launching his fund. He retired from money management in 1986.