This content is from: Portfolio

The Morning Brief: Bonjour, Monsieur Ambassadeur!

It’s looking more and more likely Avenue Capital co-founder Marc Lasry will be nominated by President Obama to become the next ambassador to France. The big question then becomes, how will investors of the $12 billion hedge fund firm react if that transpires. Although Lasry started Avenue Capital with his sister, Sonia Gardner, Gardner is said to be running the firm’s day-to-day operations. The firm is sensitive to potential investor concerns. On Friday evening Gardner sent out an e-mail announcing the appointment of Richard Furst as chief investment officer, a new position at the firm. Furst has been with Avenue Capital since 2004 and heads up the firm’s European investment strategy. “Rich will provide high-level oversight of our investment strategies on a worldwide basis,” Gardner reportedly wrote. For 53-year-old Lasry, who has been a prominent supporter of the Democratic Party since the days of former President Bill Clinton in the White House, it will be a prestigious reward. Lasry has hosted Democratic fundraisers for both Bill and Hillary Clinton at his townhouse just off of Fifth Avenue, and for a period their daughter, Chelsea, was employed as an associate at Avenue Capital.

At last, some upbeat news for William Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management. Shares of JC Penney, one of its major holdings, surged nearly 7 percent Monday after investment research firm ISI Group recommended that the struggling retailer place its top 300 stores into a real estate investment trust-like vehicle that would sublet its space to other brands. The stock closed at $16.44 on Monday.

Highbridge Capital Management has raised $5 billion for a new fund that would invest in mezzanine corporate debt. According to Financial Times, this is the largest debt fund to emerge since the 2008 financial crisis and the third largest of debt funds ever.

PointState Capital has disclosed that it owns 6.5 percent of iStar Financial, a commercial real estate company. PointState is the hedge fund founded in 2010 by former employees of Stanley Druckenmiller’s Duquesne Capital.

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