This content is from: Portfolio

The Morning Brief: Icahn Faces Roadblock in Dell Battle

Big setback for Carl Icahn in his battle with Dell. Delaware Court of Chancery Judge Leo Strine denied the activist investor’s request to fast-track his lawsuit against the computer company, disputing Icahn’s assertions that the company and its board did not look out for shareholder interests when they approved chief executive Michael Dell’s buyout offer. The ruling paves the way for the September 12 special shareholders vote on Michael Dell’s proposal. Icahn was hoping the company’s annual meeting, where he hopes to replace the board, would take place at the same time as the vote for Dell’s offer to take the company private.

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J.C. Penney said in a regulatory filing that on August 13 it worked out an agreement with entities controlled by William Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management that will allow the hedge fund manager to sell its stock on four different occasions. The arrangement expires once Pershing Square, which owns 18 percent of the retailer’s stock, reduces its stake below 5 percent. Earlier in the week, Ackman agreed to leave Penney’s board of directors. Shares of the embattled retailer closed Friday at $13.40, down 3.11 percent.

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The average commodity fund lost about 1 percent in July. As a result they were essentially flat for the year through July, according to the Newedge Commodity Trading Index. The best sub-index performer was the Newedge Commodity Trading Index (Equity), which rose 2.12 percent in July and is up 13.48 percent for the year. On the other hand, the Newedge Short-Term Trading Index was down 1.58 percent in July, leaving it up just 1.18 percent for the year. The worst performing index is the Newedge Trend Indicator, down 4.21 percent in July and down 15.4 percent for the year. Several top performing CTA funds in July include Ortus Capital (Currency), up 1.75 percent; Graham Capital (K4D-15V), up 1.71 percent; and Transtrend (Enhanced Risk), up 0.44 percent.

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The Credit Suisse Hedge Fund Index climbed 0.88 percent in July and 4.59 percent for the year. An index of dedicated short bias funds lost more than 17 percent in the first seven months of the year, while distressed funds and long-short equity funds are up more than 9 percent.

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Brian Taylor’s Pine River Capital Management reported a 5.6 percent stake in Quinpario Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company formed by Jeffry Quinn and Quinpario Partners that went public late last week at $10 per unit. Quinpario Acquisition said it plans to focus on acquiring companies in the specialty chemicals and performance materials sectors, primarily with an enterprise value of up to $1 billion.

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