Barry Rosenstein’s Jana Partners, the flagship
hedge fund managed by the firm of the same name, gained 5.7
percent last year, its biggest annual gain since 2013. The
firm’s leveraged fund, Jana Nirvana, rose 7
In what was a tough year for activists, Jana still underperformed the Standard
& Poor’s 500 stock index, which gained 21.8
percent for the year.
Jana’s biggest coup of the year was its stake
in Whole Foods, which was bought by Amazon a little more than
three months after Jana announced its 8.3 percent stake. Jana
earned about $300 million, or 42.75 percent, on its investment
for those three months. That netted an annualized gain of 156
percent, compared with 20 percent for the S&P 500.
Other big winners included Bloomin’ Brands, in
which Jana announced an 8.9 percent stake on November 20. It is
up 24 percent since then. Jana also took a 5.06 percent stake
in jeweler Tiffany in February, and it has gained 28.69 percent
since Jana’s purchase.
Former hedge fund manager Peter Thiel, who closed his
Clarium Capital after the 2008 financial crisis, has become a
big investor in bitcoin, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Thiel’s venture capital firm, Founders Fund,
began investing in bitcoin in the middle of last year, the
Bitcoin hit a record high of $19,511 on December 18 but has
since been falling. It traded at about $14,563 on Tuesday.
The downturn led at least another former hedge fund manager,
Michael Novogratz, to shelve plans to open a cryptocurrency
fund in late December.
Bitcoin gained 1,500 percent against the dollar last
Mick McGuire’s Marcato Capital Management started off the
new year with a bang on Tuesday, when the CEO of one of the
companies it is targeting resigned.
Rent-A-Center CEO Mark Speese has left, and former president
Mitchell Fadel has taken his place effective immediately, the
company said in a statement.
Rent-A-Center also said it plans to explore "strategic and
Last July, Marcato threatened to run a proxy contest to
throw out the current board members at their 2018 annual
Marcato and another hedge fund firm, Engaged Capital, have
been arguing for a sale of the company.
The change of leadership was first reported by Reuters.