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Morning Brief: Scaramucci Says SALT Won’t Take Place This Year

The SkyBridge Capital founder still hasn’t sold his stake in the fund-of-hedge-funds firm that put on the event.

  • By Stephen Taub

SALT is off this year. Anthony Scaramucci’s signature SkyBridge Alternatives (SALT) conference will not take place in May, as scheduled, because his deal to sell his stake in SkyBridge Capital to China’s HNA Group has not yet been approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S.

Scaramucci, the founder of fund-of-hedge-funds firm SkyBridge, told Bloomberg in an interview at the economic conference in Davos, Switzerland that “the logistics around the closing of the deal” led to the cancelling of the glitzy event. Scaramucci sought the sale as a condition for joining President Donald Trump’s administration, but in the end he wasn’t offered the role as a liaison to the business community. He then famously spent 10 days as communications director before being fired following a profanity-laced on-the-record interview with a reporter.

In the Bloomberg interview, Scaramucci said he would like to retain some equity in SkyBridge if the deal goes through, and play an active role at the firm. In fact, the Mooch predicted SALT will return in 2019, stressing he will still own 51 percent of the conference business if the sale is completed. By next year will anyone really care about SALT? In the past couple years the Las Vegas event was losing its pizazz, at least when it came to hedge fund speakers — as Scaramucci has had trouble attracting the indusry’s A list. Rather, it was more branded as an alternative thinking conference, with fewer hedge fund speakers than in the past.

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Third Point Ventures led a $75 million round of financing for PrecisionHawk, a provider of drone technology, according to a company statement on January 24. “We see the potential for PrecisionHawk to enable enterprises around the world with new tools for 21st century opportunities,” Robert Schwartz, managing partner of Third Point Ventures, said in the statement. “We believe the business insight that can be achieved with PrecisionHawk technology will be a catalyst for profound transformation, and this investment gives us an opportunity to support their growth and continued industry leadership.” Senator Investor Group was among the group of investors, PrecisionHawk said.

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Seth Klarman’s The Baupost Group is getting a lot of heat for its nearly $1 billion position in Puerto Rico’s debt. Activists and college students are pressuring college endowments, including his alma mater Harvard University, to shed their investments in the hedge fund giant, asserting it is making the island’s recovery from Hurricane Maria even more difficult, according to the Boston Globe.

“We want Harvard University to show that it values justice rather than exploitation by divesting from Baupost unless it cancels its Puerto Rican debt holdings,” said Sam Heller, a senior at Harvard who is a member of the college’s Student Labor Action Movement, according to the report. Activists were planning to protest at Harvard on Wednesday and at Yale University on Thursday.

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Elliott Management Corp. cut its stake in cyber security software maker Imperva to 8.4 percent. The hedge fund reduced its position by selling call options to counterparties, according to a regulatory filing.

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