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The Morning Brief: Brevan Howard Back on Track

Alan Howard and Co. are finally back on track after half a year in losing territory, the Wall Street Journalreports. London-based Brevan Howard Asset Management eked out a profit in its flagship Master Fund, among the largest hedge-fund portfolios with some $26.5 billion, by returning 0.7 percent July. This profit, the report notes, brings the fund’s losses down to 3.7 percent for 2014.


Fox’s efforts to acquire Time Warner may have fallen through, but at least one hedge fund firm still has faith in Rupert Murdoch’s company. Jeffrey Ubben’s ValueAct Capital has amassed a position worth some $1 billion in Twenty-First Century Fox, Reuters reports, via CNBC. Ubben is known for his activist style of investing, generally seeking to work with a company’s board rather than demand immediate change like his contemporary, Carl Icahn, is known to do. Ubben, founder of the $9.2 billion, San Francisco–based firm, told Reuters that despite the plug being pulled on the $80 billion offer for Time Warner, “We support [Fox’s] stand-alone plan and believe that it would drive the stock higher.” Shares of Twenty-First Century Fox closed at $35.11 today, up 1 percent.


In what has become par for the course, another bank’s trading unit is spinning off to launch a hedge fund. This time around it is a quantitative team within Barclays, and it will bring 60 of the British bank’s employees along with it, Bloomberg reports. Barclays will hold no position in the unnamed firm, which is being launched by Olivier Durantel, Gregoire Schneider, Antoine Fillet and Maxime Fortin of the bank’s nQuants unit. The algorithmic shop will take a global focus on equities and liquid securities.


A brainy father-and-son duo face jail time after agreeing to plead guilty to lying to investors about their funds’ returns, Reuters reports. Gabriel Bitran and his son Marco have ties to MIT, where the elder Bitran was a professor and associate dean, and Harvard. Both had previously settled civil charges with the SEC in 2012 relating to the fraud, in which the Bitrans were charged with boasting of generous returns based on real trades, when in reality, the regulatory authority said, they “knew the track record was based on back-tested hypothetical simulations.” Boston-based GMB Management, founded in 2005, lost some $140 million of investor cash in 2008, after initially raising $500 million. Among the managers the Bitrans invested with rather than trading for themselves were Thomas Petters and Bernard Madoff, now both serving prison time for operating billion-dollar Ponzi schemes.

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