Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Hedge funds

Felix Salmon uncovers the difference between a public company and a partnership by what happens when you take a hedge fund public.

Consider the fight between Carl Icahn and fund manager Warren Lichtenstein. Lichtenstein had a bright idea when his hedge fund -- full of illiquid assets -- faced a lot of redemption requests: he'd take it public, and investors could then sell their investments at whatever price the market put on them, without the fund itself having to liquidate. Investors might have to take a very low price -- but Lichtenstein himself would continue to collect his management fee in perpetuity.

The exit risk is removed, but at the expense of taking 20% of the upside (maybe).

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