This content is from: Portfolio

The Morning Brief: Omega’s Leon Cooperman Makes the Cable TV Rounds

Leon Cooperman has certainly not hidden from the public since the Securities and Exchange Commission charged the billionaire hedge fund manager with illegal insider trading and other securities violations in late September. The founder of New York-based Omega Advisors has delivered several speeches and conducted several television interviews, appearing on three different cable news channels on Tuesday alone.

Speaking on Bloomberg, Cooperman revealed that since the regulator launched its investigation, his firm’s assets have plummeted to $4 billion today. This is down from $5.4 billion as of the end of August.

Cooperman said Goldman Sachs “and others” have pulled out — Goldman recently pulled Omega’s funds off the menu of its employee retirement plan — but not individual investors. “If this happened to a 30 year old with no money, he’s out of business,” he said, explaining why he is fighting the charges. “It happened to a 73-year-old who is reasonably financially well enough and I value my legacy.”

On CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Cooperman addressed, among other things, the current stock market environment, repeating what he has been saying all year: The market is fully valued, but not overvalued. “Because of the money that’s flowing into the market is largely going into these index products, I think there are many companies that are very cheap relative to the index,” he said. He said he has found a lot of stocks that are attractively priced.

Commenting on the presidential elections, he made it clear he was an early opponent of Donald Trump, ever since he criticized Senator John McCain for being captured and held as a prisoner of war. “I think the people that are in favor of Donald Trump are basically saying, ‘I know what I get when I get Hillary Clinton,’” he added. “I don’t want that. I’m not sure what I get when I get Donald Trump. I’ll take my chances.” Cooperman, though, said he won’t vote for Clinton either.

As for his legal case, Cooperman said: “Omega and I have always followed the law. Anyone who has done their homework would understand that Omega was built on doing detail fundamental research and complying with the law.” He added that he could have settled the case for much less than he donates to charity each year. “It took me 50 years of hard work, very long hours, playing by the rules to get where I am professionally,” he added. “And I’m not going to let them basically unfairly destroy my legacy.”

Also on Tuesday, Cooperman appeared in a pre-taped roundtable on CNN with Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone and Mesa Petroleum founder T. Boone Pickens talking about wealth, how they attained it, philanthropy and how successful people are vilified.

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Sandell Asset Management published a 16-page presentation that lays out seven different ways to boost the value of Bob Evans Farms, with the goal of completing a tax-favorable separation of its two business segments, Bob Evans Farms Foods and Bob Evans Restaurants. The New York activist firm is headed by Thomas Sandell, who has been urging Bob Evans to take this kind of action. He estimates his plans would value the total company at somewhere between $56 and $64 per share. The presentation even includes an endorsement from long-time tax expert Robert Willens, who calls it: “about as compelling a presentation as I’ve ever seen.” Sandell also says it would be open to an alternative plan that would maximize shareholder value even if it does not include a separation of the two businesses.

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Citadel named Julie Andreeff Jensen as chief corporate affairs and communications officer. She replaces Katie Spring, who resigned last month as managing director and global head of corporate communications. Jensen comes to the Chicago multistrategy hedge fund firm from Brunswick Group, where she worked in the Washington, D.C. office as an advisor.

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