| LAS VEGAS
LAS VEGAS May 9 Billionaire investor Daniel
Loeb will go anywhere for a good trade, he told an industry
conference, discussing the strategies that have turned him into
an industry stand-out in 2013, according to people who heard him
Loeb discussed everything from his bet on Japan, to Greek
and Argentinian debt and nutritional supplements company
Herbalife, said these people.
Reporters were excluded but investment managers and
investors flocked to hear Loeb whose $13 billion Third Point
fund has enjoyed double-digit returns in the first four months
of the year. The rest of the hedge fund industry limped along at
an average 4.6 percent over the same period, while the broader
stock market rose 12.7 percent.
While many other funds are wedded to one type of investment
or style, Loeb said he is pragmatic and opportunistic, searching
the globe for his next best idea.
Loeb made money, for example, by betting against the
Japanese yen as the currency recently tumbled in response to an
expansionary monetary policy.
Loeb is one of a handful of prominent hedge fund managers
speaking at this year's SkyBridge Alternatives Conference which
attracted some 1,800 managers, investors and service providers
to Las Vegas at a time the industry is delivering only middling
Some of those who packed the Bellagio's Grand Ballroom to
hear Loeb speak later shared details of his comments.
During his one-on-one with SkyBridge founder Anthony
Scaramucci, Loeb detailed how he had hashed out the contours of
the Greek trade on a 3-hour bike ride with an analyst, said
people who watched the interview.
"The biggest risk" on the trade "was not being big enough,"
Loeb said, according to two people.
The firm's investment in Greek government bonds was one of
its biggest winners in 2012, but that debt was one of the fund's
top losing positions in the first quarter of 2013, according to
an investor letter reviewed by Reuters.
One of the fund's biggest winners during the first quarter
was Herbalife. Loeb told the audience in Las Vegas how he was on
vacation with his family in Mexico when the stock had "tanked"
after another investor, whose name he could not remember just
now, said the stock was "dead."
The audience roared with laughter at his veiled reference to
hedge fund manager William Ackman who has famously declared the
stock will move to zero, attendees said.
Loeb said he thought that was an over-reaction and when
Third Point did its own research it decided to invest, deeming
the fast growing company had good cash flow.
Loeb also said there had been a "Jersey Housewife-ification
of the hedge fund industry," referencing a feisty TV reality
show. Competing views of Herbalife have played out aggressively
in public, including a clash on CNBC television between Ackman
and investor Carl Icahn, who has taken a favorable view of
So far, both Loeb and Ackman's Pershing Square Capital
Management have made money on Herbalife because Ackman bought it
a higher price. Loeb has now exited the position, cashing in on
his winnings. "It was about the investment and not the other
stuff which was distracting," Loeb said, according to one person
who heard him speak.