Hedge Fund News Wrap: Week Ending 02/06/15

(WSJ) – Recent market volatility caught many investors flat-footed. Among the few winners were traders who let a computer be their guide.

Hedge-fund managers who employ complicated, automatic-trading strategies made millions off the wild swings in currency and commodity markets in recent weeks, investors said.

Read the entire article at The Wall Street Journal
More coverage: CNBC and Reuters

Zoetis Adds Ackman Deputy to Its Board, Avoiding a Fight

(DealBook) – Zoetis, an animal health care company, has added a top lieutenant of the activist investor William A. Ackman to its board of directors, as part of a deal that avoids a possible fight.

Zoetis said on Wednesday that it had appointed to its board William F. Doyle, a member of the investment team of Mr. Ackman’s hedge fund, Pershing Square Capital Management. In addition, Zoetis said it would later appoint another director agreed on by both Zoetis and Pershing Square.

The agreement forestalls any fight between Mr. Ackman and Zoetis, a veterinary medicine maker that was spun off from Pfizer in 2013 and has a roughly $21.8 billion market capitalization. Shares of Zoetis declined modestly in early trading on Wednesday.

Pershing Square, which owns an 8.3 percent stake in Zoetis, said in November that it would hold talks with the Zoetis management and also consult with another activist fund, Sachem Head Capital Management, which owns a 0.9 percent stake.

Read the entire article at DealBook
More coverage: Financial Times and Forbes

Breakup: Activist fund looking to split Lear

(CNBC) – Nearly three years after taking a substantial stake in the auto supplier Lear, the activist hedge fund Marcato Capital Management is agitating for a breakup.

In a letter to Lear management dated Tuesday, Marcato founder Mick McGuire argues that the company should separate its two key business units—its electrical division and its seating division—into two independently traded public entities.

Such a move, wrote McGuire, would separate “a faster-growing, higher-margin business with secular tail winds that we believe deserves a higher multiple”—the electrical business—from its slower-growing seating business counterpart.

The action could result in a combined value of $145 per share—a level 45 percent above the company’s recent share price, McGuire added.

Read the entire article at CNBC
More coverage: ValueWalk and FINalternatives