Hedge fund that bet against GameStop shuts down


A London-based hedge fund that suffered losses betting against US retailer GameStop throughout the first meme inventory rally in January is shutting its doorways.

White Square Capital, run by former Paulson & Co dealer Florian Kronawitter, instructed traders that it could shut its most important fund and return capital this month after a overview of its enterprise mannequin, in line with folks acquainted with the fund and a letter to traders.

White Square, which at its peak managed about $440m in property, had bet against GameStop, say folks acquainted with its positioning, and suffered double-digit per cent losses in January.

The transfer marks one of many first closures of a hedge fund hit by the massive surges in so-called meme shares. Retail traders, typically co-ordinating their actions on on-line boards corresponding to Reddit’s r/WallStreetBets and in some instances intentionally focusing on hedge fund brief sellers, drove up the worth of shares corresponding to GameStop and cinema chain AMC Entertainment in January and once more in latest weeks. GameStop, as an example, soared from lower than $20 at the beginning of the 12 months to greater than $480 at its January peak.

That led to big losses for some funds, together with US-based Melvin Capital, run by Steve Cohen protégé Gabe Plotkin, and Light Street Capital, run by Glen Kacher, a former Tiger cub who labored at Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management. However, the funds stay in operation, and shortly after its losses Melvin acquired a $2.75bn investment from Cohen’s Level72 Asset Management and Ken Griffin’s Citadel.

“The decision to close down is related to thinking the equity long-short model is challenged,” stated Kronawitter.

“There are way too many fish in the pond with the same strategy of long-short,” he added. “The traditional edge is being arbed away [eroded by other investors], there’s an oversupply of capital.”

An individual near the fund stated the choice to close was unrelated to the meme inventory rally. The fund shortly rebounded within the wake of January’s turmoil and made again “a fair share” of the losses, the individual added.

Among different funds hit, Melvin was nonetheless down about 44.7 per cent this 12 months to the top of final month, whereas Light Street was down about 20.1 per cent.

Kronawitter, who beforehand labored at US billionaire John Paulson’s hedge fund and Merrill Lynch, had made double-digit positive aspects at White Square in 2015 and 2016, stated an individual who had seen the numbers, whereas final 12 months it made about 19 per cent.

In the investor letter saying the fund’s closure, White Square stated that final 12 months, regardless of that 12 months’s robust efficiency, two massive traders had opted to withdraw their money and put it in low cost passive funds or non-public fairness. “We experienced first-hand the shift in trend away from hedge fund investing to cheaper alternatives,” it added.

According to the letter, White Square had been attributable to obtain investor inflows once more in May this 12 months, however as a substitute determined to close the fund.

“The arbitrage opportunities have diminished with both the onslaught of capital caused by central bank monetary interventions, as well as much improved dissemination of information, bringing up the question to what degree the same fees can be justified,” it stated.

laurence.fletcher@ft.com



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