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The Morning Brief: Brevan Howard Blocks Reuters from Publishing Story

The British hedge fund firm won an injunction to stop the wire service from publishing a story that included details Brevan Howard deemed confidential.

The press — and the general public — were dealt a heavy blow on Thursday when a major hedge fund successfully prevented Reuters from publishing a sensitive story after it was granted a court injunction. The stunning and frightening development took place in Britain, when a High Court said the wire service could not publish details of a confidential report from macro giant Brevan Howard Asset Management.

“I found that the information in question was confidential and that the public interest in the maintenance of confidentiality outweighed the public interest in disclosure,” judge Andrew Popplewell said in a statement.

“Our objective is to publish news and information which is in the public interest, which we believe outweighs the confidentiality concerns put forward in this matter,” a Reuters spokeswoman said. “We are therefore deeply disappointed by this ruling and are reviewing the court’s decision.”

Britain is known for not having the kind of press freedom protections enjoyed in the U.S. under the First Amendment of the Constitution. In Britain, individuals and companies can prevent the media from publishing sensitive information by citing its confidentiality. There is no doubt that there are hedge fund firms in the U.S. that would love to enjoy the same legal protection and are conferring with their attorneys to figure out how. Public interest, beware.


Shares of Och-Ziff Capital Management Group fell 1.7 percent to $2.30, matching its lowest closing price ever. Last week, Standard & Poor’s cut its credit rating on Och-Ziff, which has been hemorrhaging capital.

“The downgrade reflects the expense guidance Och-Ziff recently provided on compensation and non-compensation costs,” the rating agency stated in a report. “We now believe that the company’s fixed costs are a bigger proportion of its expense base than we initially projected.”

Och-Ziff has suffered $13 billion in redemptions over the past 13 months. The stock is now down nearly 90 percent since January 2014.

___ finally agreed to buy, the popular Middle Eastern online retailer, according to the Financial Times. The e-commerce giant is reportedly shelling out more than $650 million for the company, co-founded in 2005 by Syria’s Ronaldo Mouchawar and often called the Amazon the Middle East. One of the big winners is long-time investor Tiger Global Management. The New York investment firm’s big venture capital operation was one of the first investors in, having initially invested in the company in 2009. In February 2016 Tiger Global participated in a $275 million financing. We reported in November that there were reports that was close to a deal for about $1 billion.

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