"Now That I Got that Hedge Fund (or Fund of Fund): What is it Worth?" Webinar Examines the Monetization of Hedge Fund Management Firms

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Opalesque, the world's largest subscription-based publisher on alternative investments, hosts a Webinar: The Monetization of Hedge Fund Management Firms on July 10th 2008 10 am New York time. Registration is now open and qualified participants (see below) can register here: http://www.opalesque.com/index.php?act=static&and=webinar

Opalesque has once again secured capital markets expert Joe Taussig for a webinar exclusively held for founders (or partners owning more than 15%) of hedge fund or hedge fund of fund management companies.

Traditional Ways to Partially Monetize A Hedge Fund Management Company

There are five methods to partially monetize interests in a hedge fund management company:
(1) a traditional IPO
(2) a reverse merger into a public shell (or SPAC)
(3) a listing on AIM, without any capital being raised
(4) selling less than 100% of the equity or
(5) selling a revenue interest.

Examples of traditional IPOs would include Man, Och-Ziff, Gottex, RAB Capital; BlueBay, Polar, and Ashmore (plus Fortress, Blackstone, and Partners Group, if extended to alternative asset managers). These should not be confused with the IPOs of publicly traded closed ended funds.

Examples of reverse mergers would include GLG and Asset Alliance. Examples of an AIM listing without raising capital would include Absolute and Charlemagne. An example of a partial sale would include Highbridge and examples of revenue interests would include AQR, First Quadrant, Avenue, Lansdowne, Winton, and most firms backed by seeding platforms.

With the exception of Man and the Partners Group in Switzerland, each of the IPOs has been a disappointment relative to their initial public offering price. As for Reverse mergers, GLG has not been a success thus far, even after GLG coughed up nearly $500 million in slippage to get the deal done. The Asset Alliance – Tailwind reverse merger which was announced nearly 5 months ago has gone radio silent, which is not a positive sign.

AIM listings without raising capital lack a third party value validation when offered to the public and Absolute has been nothing short of a disaster, while Charlemagne is off more than 50%. Selling less than 100% of the equity or a revenue interest seems to work best, but a minority equity stake often imposes restrictions under which hedge fund managers chafe, while revenue interests do not. Whether a less than 100% equity stake or a revenue interest, each method still begs the question of how to monetize the rest of the ownership.

Selling Out

The only way to fully monetize a hedge fund management business is to sell out. Unfortunately, a total sale usually ends up with the sellers leaving at the first opportunity and the buyer usually has great difficulty in maintaining the value that it purchased. Examples of this include Glenwood, RMF, HBV, and Old Lane. As such, buyers will naturally be(a)ware and pricing will usually be lower than in other industries as a result.

Creating a Reinsurer or Bank and Merging Some or All of the Hedge Fund Manager into it

A new alternative is for the hedge fund manager to sponsor the creation of a reinsurer or bank that allocates all of its investable assets to the sponsoring manager, providing a significant amount of permanent capital for the manager (making the management firm more valuable) and producing significantly higher returns for investors than the manager's funds without a proportionate increase in risk. Once the reinsurer or bank is fully developed, it can acquire some or all of the hedge fund management firm.

In this manner, the monetization process is able to benefit from many of the better points of other monetization alternatives. For example, it permits a total sale (without the normal problem of loss of control) and creates a public market for the interests of the hedge fund manager, but as a reinsurer or bank, rather than as an asset manager (which probably means higher market multiples). Carefully crafted, the transaction can be structured on a very tax efficient basis, particularly if partnership taxation for publicly traded managers or deferred compensation for offshore funds is lost.

While this alternative is yet unproven, it is more or less how Warren Buffett transitioned from being a hedge fund manager and monetized his asset management business. This summer a $15 billion hedge fund manager is likely to announce a merger with a Swiss private bank as the first step in a similar process.

Our Panel:

Joseph K. Taussig is the Founder of Taussig Capital and has acted as a merchant banker for numerous financial services startups since 1990. Most of the capital for these companies has been provided by the hedge fund industry or hedge fund investors and most of the startups invest their assets in hedge fund strategies.

Matthias Knab, Director of Opalesque Ltd, will moderate this webinar. Matthias Knab is an internationally recognized expert on hedge funds and alternatives and has frequently served as chairman of hedge fund conferences in New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Miami, Bahamas, Stockholm, Dubai etc. In addition, he has presented or moderated at hedge fund events in Sydney, Cape Town, Madrid, and Bombay, and lectured at numerous universities on the subjects of hedge funds and the state of the global alternative asset management industry.

Limited to founders (or partners owning more than 15%) of hedge fund or FoHF management companies
Participation in the Webinar on July 10th at 10 am New York time is limited to founders (or partners owning more than 15%) of hedge fund or FoHF management companies who would like to learn more about creating a reinsurer or bank in order to generate significant amounts of permanent capital and provide superior returns (without a proportionate increase in risk) for their investors. Provided that a founder or 15% partner is present, additional colleagues from the hedge fund or FoHF management company may also participate.
Registration is now open and qualified participants can register here:
http://www.opalesque.com/index.php?act=static&and=webinar

About Opalesque:

Since February 2003, Opalesque is publishing Alternative Market Briefing, the premium news service on hedge funds and alternatives. The launch of these Briefing was a revolution in the hedge fund media space ("Opalesque changed the world by bringing transparency where there was opacity and by delivering an accurate professional reporting service." - Nigel Blanchard, Culross) combining proprietary news with the “clipping service” approach of integrating third party news. Each week, Opalesque publications are read by more than 400,000 industry professionals from all over the globe.
Opalesque is the only daily hedge fund publisher which is actually read by the elite managers themselves (http://www.opalesque.com/op_testimonials.html). For more information, please go to http://www.opalesque.com

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