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On Point: Hedging our bets

Submitted by on 1, May 15, 2009 – 6:00 am3 Comments

alameda-point-jet1One of the big, important questions folks have been asking, in the runup to the ballot measure for the proposed Alameda Point development, is where the money is going to come from to pay for all of this. Specifically, they want to know what the deal is with D.E. Shaw, the hedge fund/private equity/tech development firm that has pledged to back developer SunCal (at least through the course of its negotiating agreement with the city).

The assets managed by the 21-year-old company, which pioneered investing based on mathematical models, have dropped from a high of $40 billion to $29 billion as of April 1, even as the company limited cash-starved investors’ ability to pull money out of some of its funds (including those that were still turning a profit).

I wanted to know more about the company’s investments and assumed I would have to piece together the picture by sifting through months’ worth of Google Alerts – until I got this link to a blog on hedge funds and the stock market and learned that the funds file a quarterly report with the Securities and Exchange Commission that lays out a lot of data about the company’s holdings. (Here’s info on the company’s third quarter of 2008, if you’re interested.)

The SEC’s got a whole pile of filings, incidentally, laying out stock sales and other such financially technical stuff (including the recent sale of 2.2 million of its 13 million or so shares of its Owens Corning stock).

Shaw investments recently in the news range from Bay Area tech startups (Offerpal Media, RocketOn) to the biggest real estate firm in India (DAL Assets, for a few more weeks, anyway), a New Jersey-based wind power company (Deepwater Wind), Chinese shipping (Jiangshu Rongsheng) and more (Orient Express Hotels, eToys ’til they went bankrupt, United Airlines, same).


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