Hedge Fund News Wrap: Week Ending 06/19/15

Greek Regulator Fines Hedge Funds Over Short Selling Issue

(Reuters) – Greece’s capital markets regulator has fined more than a dozen hedge funds in the past few months for potentially breaching European rules on short selling stocks without borrowing them first, an official from the regulator said on Friday.

The hedge funds include Tosca Master Fund, Hadron Alpha Select Fund, and Verrazzano European Long Short, according to a statement on the website of Greece’s Hellenic Capital Market Commission. Tosca, Hadron and Verrazzano declined to comment.

The fines range between 10,000 euros ($11,304) and 40,000 euros and are related to trades in Greek banks such as Eurobank Ergasias, Alpha Bank and National Bank of Greece, the regulator’s statement said. Short selling is used by hedge funds to profit from falling share prices. It usually involves selling borrowed shares and buying them back at a lower price and pocketing the difference.

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

Elliott Fires Latest Salvo in Battle with Samsung

(CNBC) – In an unfolding drama that has captivated South Korean media in recent weeks, U.S. activist hedge fund Elliott fired its latest salvo in its battle with conglomerate Samsung Group over a proposed merger between two of its subsidiaries Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries on Thursday.

Elliott, the third biggest shareholder in construction firm Samsung C&T with a 7.1 percent stake, launched a new website featuring a 27-page report on Thursday outlining why shareholders in Samsung C&T should reject the $8 billion all-stock takeover bid from affiliate Cheil Industries.

“Elliott continues to view the terms of the proposed takeover as unfair, unlawful and significantly damaging to the interest of Samsung’s C&T shareholders,” the firm wrote in a statement.

The showdown between Elliott and heavyweight Samsung Group has garnered a lot of media attention in South Korea given shareholder activism is relatively rare in the country. Elliott’s efforts to thwart the merger are seen as a challenge to the country’s most powerful company and its wealthiest family, as insinuated by some local media reports. Lee Kun-hee, 73, chairman of Samsung Electronics is South Korea’s richest man, with an estimated net worth of over $10.8 billion.

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

ConAgra Targeted by Activist Jana After Ralcorp Merger

(Bloomberg) – ConAgra Foods Inc. is being targeted by activist investor Jana Partners, which is threatening to nominate three directors in the wake of the food company’s disappointing acquisition of Ralcorp Holdings Inc.

Jana, a hedge fund founded by Barry Rosenstein that disclosed a new active stake of about 7.2 percent in ConAgra, said in a regulatory filing Thursday that it asked the company to push back its June 21 deadline to submit nominations for its annual meeting to provide “more time to have collaborative discussions.” In a statement in response to Jana’s filing, ConAgra said it has extended that deadline to July 8.

ConAgra’s $6.7 billion purchase of Ralcorp in 2013 “has been followed by disappointing performance for stockholders, repeated guidance misses, negative revisions to long-term earnings targets, no dividend per share growth, and operating performance challenges,” Jana said in the filing. The hedge fund said it began amassing its stake after ConAgra wrote down the deal by $1.3 billion in March.

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