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The Morning Brief: Simons, Harding Do the Philanthropic Math

Wednesday was philanthropy day for two billionaire hedge fund managers whose background is in math and computer trading.

James Simons’ Simons Foundation gave Stony Brook University another $25 million to boost interdisciplinary research and programming at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics. It has now received a total of $105 million from the Foundation and its co-founders, Simons and his wife Marilyn Simons. Before founding Renaissance Technologies, Simons was Chair of Stony Brook’s Mathematics Department, while his wife received a B.A. and Ph.D. in economics from the university.

Over in London, David Harding, the founder of Winton Capital Management, and his wife Claudia, announced they are donating more than $8 million to the Science Museum in London to design a new mathematics gallery. It is the largest individual donation ever made to the museum, according to an official announcement.

“With this gallery we want to evoke the kind of excitement around mathematics as our Collider exhibition has done around particle physics and with Zaha Hadid’s extraordinary designs this project is off to the best start imaginable,” said Science Museum Director, Ian Blatchford, in the press release. “This appointment reflects our ambition to deliver the world’s foremost gallery of mathematics both in its collection and its design.” The gallery “will explore how mathematicians, their tools and ideas have helped to shape the world from the turn of the 17th century to the present,” the museum explains.


Dollar General is turning up the heat on Family Dollar Stores. It is now offering shareholders to buy their shares for $80 a pop in a hostile takeover. Family Dollar has already rejected two earlier offers for the company. The offer expires on October 8, although the company said it could be extended. “Our offer provides Family Dollar shareholders with significantly greater value than the existing agreement with Dollar Tree, as well as immediate and certain liquidity for their shares,” said Rick Dreiling, chairman and chief executive officer of Dollar General, in a press release. “By taking this step, we are providing all Family Dollar shareholders a voice in this process, and we urge them to tender into our offer.” Edward Garden, an executive at Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management, serves on the board of Family Dollar and supported its decision to reject Dollar General’s earlier $8.9 billion takeover bid.


A former Citadel executive won Delaware’s republican primary for state treasurer on Tuesday. Ken Simpler at one time had served as managing director at the Chicago hedge fund firm, overseeing a $1 billion portfolio. He also served on Citadel’s investment committee.


UBS raised its rating on Twitter to Buy from Neutral and lifted its price target to $65 from $50, asserting in a note to clients: “ad momentum strengthens.” This is great news for Daniel Benton’s Andor Capital Management, which counted the social media company’s stock as its second largest position at the end of the second quarter, accounting for 11.11 percent of its stock portfolio.

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