Protégé seeds seasoned manager Alsalem’s new Ledbury European equity and special sits launch

February 28, 2014  

Experienced hedge fund manager Michael Alsalem is making good progress ahead of the launch of his new London-based Ledbury Partners firm - a European-focused value-driven equity and special situations investing strategy that aims to go live in the second quarter.

Ledbury, which is backed by Jeffrey Tarrant and Ted Seides' New York-headquartered smaller and emerging-manager investment group Protégé Partners, looks like being a significant new entrant into the European hedge fund space at a time of fast-returning global investor interest in the opportunity set across Europe's equity and corporate credit markets.

Alsalem - who grew up in Europe, spending 14 years in France - has been involved in the alternative investment world for the past 12 years, working first at K Capital (which was founded by former senior members of Seth Klarman's legendary Baupost value investing group) and then at Kingdon Capital before joining JP Morgan's Highbridge Capital operation in New York.

He moved to London in 2009 along with former Third Point man Munib Islam to launch Highbridge's European equity strategy, where he worked for a couple of years before joining London-based event-driven manager Centaurus Capital - spending some 18 months there before leaving in late 2012 to plan his own firm.

Alsalem is joined at Ledbury on the business management side by founding partner and COO Chude Chidi-Ofong, an experienced hedge fund operations specialist who has spent the past six years as head of operations at Eton Park International.

Before his time with Eric Mindich and Erland Karlsson's $14 billion Eton Park group, Chidi-Ofong spent two years as a founding partner and COO of start-up firm DE Capital - the multi-strategy group led by Donald Ewer that span out from Caxton, where he had been responsible for the business management of its London operation.

The day-one investment team at Ledbury will comprise at least two high-calibre senior analysts, with complementary experience across public and private markets in both equities and credit, under the overall portfolio management of Alsalem.

The strategy will have freedom to invest long and short across the corporate capital structure, according to where the team see the best risk-reward opportunities, but is likely to focus on equities and the fund will only invest in publicly traded securities.

Besides Europe itself, the team will also cover a wider investment universe that also comprises all Europe-affiliated securities - such as stocks quoted on Nasdaq and other non-European exchanges, but whose business is predominantly based in Europe - as well as cross-border corporate actions, restructurings and events that have a European element.

The portfolio is expected to be fairly concentrated - typically with around 15-20 positions on both the long and short sides, in addition to put options, index products and other hedging instruments. Investments will be based on deep bottom-up fundamental research rather than macro or thematic views, although the team will incorporate macro analysis into their security selection.

Subject to FCA authorisation, Ledbury is aiming for a Q2 launch and the new operation looks likely to generate keen interest at a time when Europe is firmly back on investors' radar screens.

The firm is expected to target an early soft-close for the fund, so as to focus the team's energies on investing post-launch - and the partners are looking to attract high-quality and long-term investors with similar investment outlooks to their own from the outset.

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