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The Morning Brief: Former Greenlight Partner Wins SunEdison Board Seat

David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital finally got that long-rumored seat on the board of SunEdison. The renewable energy company announced that its board of directors appointed Claire Gogel as an independent director. She is a former Greenlight partner who has spent 20 years in portfolio and hedge fund management. Gogel will join the board’s nominating and corporate governance committee and the finance and investment committee. Under the arrangement, SunEdison agreed that after it closes its pending acquisition of Vivint Solar, it will amend its bylaws so that the company would be unable to issue equity for two years without a supermajority vote of the board. Until this amendment becomes effective, the company will consult with New York-based Greenlight over any issuances of stock. Shares of SunEdison, one of Greenlight’s biggest losing positions last year, jumped Wednesday more than 9 percent and are up 42 percent in the past five trading days.

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Several investment banks cut their price targets on hedge fund favorite Apple following the release of the company’s quarterly results. UBS reduced its price target from $130 to $120 but retained its Buy recommendation. Stifel Nicolaus cut its target from $140 to $120 but maintained its Buy rating. The investment bank points out in a note to clients that the maker of iPhones and iPads is guiding second fiscal quarter revenue to a range below Stifel Nicolaus’s estimate. In addition, it points out that Apple said it began to see “some signs of economic softness” in Greater China, particularly Hong Kong, in early January. Credit Suisse trimmed its earnings estimates but retained its $140 price target and Outperform rating. Apple shares fell 6.6 percent Wednesday, to $93.44.

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Barry Rosenstein’s Jana Partners is not known for its short book. So, it was interesting to see the New York hedge fund firm identify three U.K. companies it is currently betting against, according to published reports citing filings in the U.K. Jana is short Dixons Carphone, an electrical and telecommunications retailer, InterContinental Hotels Group, which manages a number of hotels including the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn chains, and Royal Mail, a package-delivery company. Under the rule, investors must disclose any short positions that exceed 0.5 percent of a company’s stock. Until now, Jana only previously filed for one other short position in the U.K.

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Robert Mercer, co-president and co-chief executive officer of East Setauket, New York-based Renaissance Technologies, gave $400,000 to a super-PAC that seeks to boost the involvement of black entrepreneurs in the Republican Party, according to published reports citing a Federal Election Commission filing. He previously gave $11 million to groups promoting the presidential bid of Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

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Leon Cooperman disclosed he owns nearly 1.7 million shares of MVC Capital, or 5.1 percent of the business development company. He owned just 40,000 shares of the company at the end of the third quarter. The stock is down 30 percent since June.

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