This content is from: Portfolio

The Morning Brief: Valiant Capital Scrambles Toward Break-even

Chris Hansen’s Valiant Capital Partners posted a 3.36 percent gain in its liquid portfolio in May, almost reversing the 3.87 percent loss the previous month. As a result, the portfolio is down 2.8 percent or so for the year-to-date. However, Valiant’s side pockets, which is what the San Francisco firm calls its portfolio of private investments, are up 5.3 percent or so for the year. As a result, overall the firm is down just 1.1 percent. Among Valiant’s largest private investments: Uber Technologies and Pinterest.

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Jeffrey Ubben’s ValueAct Capital boosted its stake in Agrium to more than 9.7 million shares, or 6.8 percent of the total shares outstanding. In a regulatory filing, the San Francisco activist firm does not lay out any plans for the supplier of agricultural products or mention whether it has had discussions with management or the board of directors, simply saying it owns the shares “for investment purposes.” This is not the first activist to take a large stake in the Calgary, Canada-based company. You may recall that in 2013 Agrium successfully fended off a proxy fight by Barry Rosenstein’s New York-based Jana Partners.

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Tourbillon Capital Partners raised its stake in Energizer Holdings to 3.19 million shares, or 5.1 percent of the total outstanding. We recently reported that as of May 5 — the date of its first-quarter letter — Energizer was Tourbillon’s largest long position. The New York firm also said it was a new position. Tourbillon founder Jason Karp told clients that he saw at least 50 percent to 70 percent “upside potential over the next 18 months if the management team is able to execute properly.” Last year the company announced plans to split into separate companies: Energizer, which will retain its signature battery business, and Edgewell, which owns consumer brands such as Schick, Hawaiian Tropic, Wet Ones and Playtex.

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Boston-based Adage Capital Partners boosted its stake in Meridian Bancorp to nearly 2.8 million shares, or slightly more than 5 percent of the total outstanding of the small Massachusetts bank. It is now the third largest shareholder.

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Eurekahedge reports that total hedge fund assets under management climbed by $92 billion in the first five months of the year, to $2.23 trillion. Roughly one-third of this increase is the result of new money coming into funds. Hedge funds focusing on Asia ex-Japan are the best performers so far this year, rising on average by 15 percent, according to the report. Meanwhile, their assets have risen by $15.4 billion, to $159.8 billion. However, this works out to just a 10.7 percent increase, suggesting the strategy suffered net outflows this year.

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