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The Morning Brief: The Mooch is Out After 10 Days

SkyBridge’s Anthony Scaramucci loses his dream job before its official start date.

  • By Stephen Taub

Talk about a short-term trade. It took just 10 days for Anthony Scaramucci to go from famous — after landing his dream job as White House communications director — to infamous, thanks to his X-rated, on-the-record rant to a New Yorker reporter. It now transpires that the profanity-laden tirade, in which he slammed various high-ranking White House officials, has cost him his job even before his official start date, which had been set for mid-August.

Also during that tumultuous period, his estranged wife gave birth to their third child — we only just learned they were getting divorced on Saturday thanks to a deeply reported story in the New York Post.

Meanwhile, it emerged that Scaramucci agreed to sell his fund-of-funds firm, SkyBridge Capital, to a Chinese conglomerate, HNA, for $180 million. The price tag was only rumored to be in that neighborhood.

We also learned that the deal, which I was told at SALT would be completed by the end of June, is now being held up until who knows when. Will HNA finally realize they may have way overpaid for a firm in the shrinking fund-of-funds industry?

In the end Scaramucci will wind up without his dream job, his second wife, and the company he founded, which catapulted him to hedge fund notoriety and into the orbit of political heavyweights. Now, one big question is whether Scaramucci, who was to sever his ties as well to SALT, will once again be playing a high profile role at the event next May. After all, when it comes to the Trump Administration 9.5 months is a very, very long time.
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JANA Partners’ Barry Rosenstein fired off a letter to the board of directors of EQT Corporation, reiterating his opposition to the company’s planned merger with Rice Energy and once again threatening to nominate directors to the board. The activist hedge fund firm is part of a group that owns nearly 6 percent of the petroleum and natural gas exploration and pipeline company.

Last month EQT agreed to acquire Rice for $6.7 billion in a merger of two shale gas companies. In the latest letter, Rosenstein asserted that if the deal is approved, EQT will wind up paying way more than the value of the transaction synergies claimed at the time of the announcement to Rice shareholders “and issuing shares which EQT management itself acknowledges are undervalued, thus substantially diluting the value of an eventual separation to current EQT shareholders by transferring much of their upside potential to Rice shareholders.” The hedge fund manager also stated that last week EQT management “conjured up dubious additional synergies worth up to three times the amount of the original synergies.” Rosenstein also claims the original synergies were “vastly overstated.”
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Hudson Bay Capital Management published an open letter to shareholders of Sabra Health Care REIT designed to “set the record straight” on what it asserts are “misleading points” Sabra made in recent public documents. Hudson Bay, a hedge fund firm that owns 3.9 percent of the shares of the REIT, also repeated its case for why shareholders should reject Sabra’s proposed acquisition of Care Capital Properties. A special meeting to vote on the deal is scheduled for August 15. If the deal is approved, Hudson Bay predicts it “could prove fatally expensive to Sabra’s shareholders.” The hedge fund firm also calls on Sabra to replace chief executive officer Rick Matros. “Sabra should explore all strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value, including putting itself up for sale,” the letter adds, asserting it trades at a depressed multiple. Hudson Bay was founded in 2005. It is headed by Sander Gerber. 
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Eric Mindich has liquidated his entire U.S. stock portfolio. On March 23, he announced he would return capital to investors in his firm, Eton Park Capital Management. According to a regulatory filing on Monday, the former Goldman Sachs partner held no securities that qualify as 13F holding as of June 30. At yearend his U.S. long portfolio was valued at about $5 billion, including call and put options, which overstate a portfolio’s assets.

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Lone Pine Capital said that as of July 20, it owned 5.1 percent of TransUnion, the credit reporting company. The hedge fund firm headed by Stephen Mandel Jr. did not own any shares of the company in the first quarter. We won’t know whether it held an investment in the second quarter for another two weeks.



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