Since Icahn announced he was going activist on Cheniere Energy one month ago, he has not exactly hit a home run, with the stock tumbling 20% from Icahn's initial price, and closing at $56.75 yesterday: hardly good news for the outspoken billionaire. Today Icahn got some more bad news when famous short-seller Jim Chanos announced on CNBC that his latest heretofore undisclosed short is precisely Cheniere, which he described as a "looming disaster" alleging that demand for liquid natural gas isn’t growing.
While the "hedge fund" hotel strategy works on the way up, when everyone makes roughly the same profits, it is on the way down when these hedge fund hotels become "Hotel California" - hedge funds can check out, and sometimes they can even leave... with massive losses. According to a Bloomberg analysis, many of these hedge fund hotel stocks, or companies where hedge funds hold a combined stake of at least 25%, suffered declines of as much as 42 percent in the recent stock market rout.
In a world in which the Chief Risk Officer of the formerly free capital markets, Ben Bernanke, has made any downside hedges obsolete (and as a result hedge funds have posted 5 years of returns without outperforming the S&P500), the first casualty has emerged: fund of funds. These parasitic, fee-soaking institutions, which merely collect a fee on top of the fees already charged by hedge funds, are rapidly on their way to extinction as the following charts from Eurekahedge prove conclusively. Naturally, the FOF industry which generates massive fees for its "value adding" managers, will not go down without a fight. And as Pensions and Investment reports, the FOFs have found a way to strike back: convert hedge funds into long only, idiot money, and we do enjoy the irony that in this centrally-planned market the idiot money is outperforming the smart, nimble asset managers by orders of magnitude.
Pop quiz: What is the common theme among the following "best of breed" 2 and 20 (at least) hedge funds, whose YTD performance is presented below?