The Morning Brief: Blue Ridge Confirms Long-Only Launch

It’s official. John Griffin’s Blue Ridge Capital filed plans with regulators on Wednesday for creating a new long-only fund, the Blue Ridge Long Fund, and an offshore counterpart. So far, Blue Ridge has not yet raised any money for the funds. We reported last month that Tiger Cub Griffin’s New York hedge fund firm planned to launch the new fund at the beginning of 2016. Initially, the fund will be available only to existing investors in the firm’s long-short hedge fund. Griffin decided to start the new fund after limited partners had been asking for one for some time, according to the sources.


Sandell Asset Management sold nearly 200,000 shares of Bob Evans Farms, trimming its stake in the casual dining company to 7 percent. On Monday Bob Evans announced it agreed to sell 145 restaurant properties to Mesirow Realty Sale-Leaseback, an affiliate of Mesirow Financial Holdings, for $200 million. The sale-leaseback deal is expected to provide Bob Evans with net proceeds of $165 to $170 million. Bob Evans said it plans to use the net proceeds to pay down debt and repurchase shares.

Earlier this month, Sandell, a New York activist manager, urged Bob Evans to sell its packaged foods company and retain its restaurant business. Around the same time, Bob Evans’s board approved a $100 million increase in its stock-buyback program, to $250 million, and approved a 9.7 percent quarterly dividend increase. The hedge fund firm won its proxy fight with the Columbus, Ohio company more than a year ago and placed four of its nominees on its board of directors. The stock closed down slightly, at $39.39.


Shares of Cliffs Natural Resources, which has been a target of activists for some time, surged more than 7 percent, to $1.71, after the embattled mining and natural resources company announced it sold its remaining coal business to Seneca Coal Resources. Cliffs said the deal is valued at $268 million. New York-based activist firm Casablanca Capital, headed by Donald Drapkin, was the second-largest shareholder at the end of the third quarter. Other top-ten holders include East Setauket, New York-based Renaissance Technologies and New York-based Coatue Management. The stock was down more than 80 percent from its January 2015 high before the deal was announced.



More bad news for Micron Technology. Shares of the chip maker fell more than 2 percent, to $14.30, after Credit Suisse cut its price target on the stock from $25 to $20. The investment bank points out that while Micron reported fiscal first quarter results that were in line with expectations, it guided second quarter results “well below even our street low estimate,” according to a note to clients. The stock is now down 60 percent from its high of a little more than a year ago. Micron is one of the stocks causing headaches for Greenlight Capital this year, among others.