Hedge Fund News Wrap: Week Ending 05/01/15

(Reuters) – Hedge funds and other money managers raised their bets on rising Brent crude oil prices for a fifth week in a row to a new record, exchange data showed on Monday.

Speculators increased net long positions in Brent futures and options by 8,351 contracts to 271,929 in the week to April 21, InterContinental Exchange (ICE) data showed, the highest level since records began in 2011.

“We have more or less seen longs rise since October so it’s been going on for some time,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.

However, he added the proportion of long bets to short positions had reached levels which in the past had been followed by a drop in prices.

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More coverage: The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Business

DuPont Shares Rise After Proxy Adviser Backs Nelson Peltz

(DealBook) – Shares of DuPont leapt on Monday after an influential shareholder advisory firm backed efforts by the activist investor Nelson Peltz to win seats on the industrial conglomerate’s board.

DuPont’s stock was up more than 4.5 percent by midafternoon, to $74.79, after Institutional Shareholder Services recommended that investors elect two of his four nominees, including Mr. Peltz, instead of two of the company’s directors.

The backing of I.S.S., the biggest proxy advisory firm, is a big win for Mr. Peltz and his Trian Fund Management as they engage in a bitter fight over the board of the company. The battle is one of the biggest this year between an activist shareholder and a stalwart of corporate America, as hedge funds and other investors seek to shake up companies.

Read the entire article at DealBook
More coverage: CNBC and Forbes

Alliance Trust Strikes Late-Night Deal to End Hedge Fund Battle

(Bloomberg Business) – Alliance Trust Plc struck a late-night deal with its largest shareholder, Elliott Advisors, to expand the board in a bid to avoid a public showdown at its annual general meeting in Scotland.

The deadline for shareholders to vote on Elliott’s proposal by proxy expired on Monday with the result so close as to force an agreement, two people with knowledge of the firms said on Tuesday. Both companies had maintained a dialog throughout the six-week battle, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations were confidential.

“This is a sure sign that having seen the scale of proxy votes from shareholders mounting up in favor of a shakeup, the board has rightly determined compromise is better than a very public defeat,” said Jason Hollands, managing director at Tilney BestInvest, which last week backed Elliott.

Read the entire article at Bloomberg Business
More coverage: The Financial Times and Reuters