April 15, 2016 / 8:05 PM / 4 years ago

Lone Pine's Cypress Fund down 8 percent in first quarter, hurt by Valeant

BOSTON (Reuters) - Hedge fund Lone Pine Capital’s Lone Cypress fund lost 8 percent during the first quarter as bets on Valeant Pharmaceuticals Inc and Energy Transfer/Williams Companies tumbled.

“Lone Pine had a poor first quarter, as two investment errors hurt our long performance and sharp rebounds in previously underperforming stocks hampered our short performance,” the firm’s executives wrote in a letter dated April 14 and seen by Reuters on Friday.

Valeant, which has lost 68 percent this year, has been among the most widely owned stocks by hedge funds, hurting big name investors including William Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management and John Paulson’s Paulson & Co.

Energy Transfer Equity, which plans to take over Williams Cos, has tumbled 34 percent this year while its target fell 32 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 1.3 percent in the first quarter while the average hedge fund lost roughly 1 percent during the same period.

“Nearly all of our long underperformance over the past nine months can be attributed to these errors,” the firm’s executives wrote about the companies, calling them “our investment errors.”

Lone Pine said it “miscalculated” the consequences of both firms’ acquisition-driven growth strategies coupled with “aggressive, highly incented management.”

Neither stock was listed among Lone Pine Cypress’ top twenty long positions at the end of March 31, suggesting the firm has exited. All names were included in that list at the end of the third quarter 2015.

Lone Cypress manages roughly $5.1 billion in assets. A spokesman for the firm was not immediately available to comment.

The firm said it is sticking by its large bets on internet-oriented companies, including Amazon, Facebook, JD.com and Microsoft, whose performance has been mixed this year. Lone Pine said valuations for these businesses underestimate their “entrepreneurial value creation, cash-generating ability and the duration of their growth.”

The firm also said it is betting on companies that are improving operations of acquired businesses, citing Charter Communications, Dollar Tree Stores, and Shire plc.

Hedge funds generally do not report their performance or investment ideas publicly which means investors and analysts watch big name funds, including Lone Pine, closely for any hint of investment trends.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli

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