Real Talk on Joe Biden, Bill Ackman, Martin Shkreli, and Daniel Loeb

Jun 26 2017 | 10:22pm ET

On Monday, we discuss Joe Biden’s Thoughts of Bill Ackman, Martin Shkreli’s Inability to Keep Quiet, Daniel Loeb’s Sweet Tooth, and the 20thAnniversary of the Asian Financial Crisis.

Quotes of the Day


"Who's this wiseass?”

[EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was originally sourced from Fox Business and author Charlie Gasparino. There has been significant disagreement over the events. This story has been updated to include the account from NY Magazine and refutes the reporting at Fox Business. We are not taking sides.]

Well, that escalated quickly...

That quote is from former Vice President Joe Biden, asking the person beside him to explain the identity of hedge fund manager Bill Ackman at the SALT Conference, according to NY Magazine (Fox Business reported a different word than 'wiseass.')

This story escaped us because FINalternatives’ editor wasn’t invited to a private event at the where this question was posed. The VIP event included guests Ackman, Biden, Jon Corzine, Dan Loeb, Steve Harvey and Valerie Jarrett, and Steve Cohen.

(Side note: Steve Harvey seems like a stretch for this VIP affair, but seriously… Steve Cohen?)

During this private affair, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush asked Biden why he didn’t run for president in 2016. Biden responded by citing the toll on his family after the passing of his son Beau in 2015, when candidate speculation was just getting ready to kick into gear. (Biden had shared a similar sentiment and emotions during his public interview at the event.)

At the table, it got very quiet when Biden apologized while getting emotional. “I’m sorry,” he said, according to the report. “I’ve said too much.”

That’s when Ackman decided to chime in, “Why not? It’s never stopped you before,” according to Fox Business. However, NY Magazine states that the statement was in response to statements surrounding Biden's views on President Trump and Syria.

Fox Business reported that Biden turned to the person next to him and asked the question above. Then, he said, “Look, I don't know who you are, wiseass, but never disrespect the memory of my dead son.”

NY Magazine, Bill Ackman, and SkyBridge Capital have all refuted that Biden made this statement. 

"I hope to see you and your four children homeless and will do whatever I can to assure this."

It’s not like anyone from the hedge community can top Ackman’s behavior, right?

Said Martin Shkreli to Bill Ackman: Hold my beer

That is a quote from court filings from Martin Shkreli to one of his former employees in a battle over shares of company stock. With Shkreli’s trial approaching, he hasn’t exactly heeded his lawyers’ advice to keep quiet. He even accepted an offer to speak to the FBI without counsel.

"It is rare to find a business of Nestle’s quality with so many avenues for improvement.”

That’s Third Point talking up its $3.4 billion stake in the world’s largest packaged foods business, Nestle. Already, Nestle shares in Switzerland jumped nearly 5% on Monday.

You get three guesses how Third Point plans to improve the company, and the first two don’t count.If you answered any of the following: Increase stock buybacks, sell non-core assets, and cut costs to improve margins… you win nothing but the satisfaction of knowing you’ve seen this recipe in the past.

"It is an easy question. Make a decision. Of course, the U.S. will not like it. But if you make a decision not to use the dollar, that can be done.”

That’s former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

It was 20 years ago at the height of the 1997 Asian crisis that Mohamed blamed "evil" hedge funds for the crisis in emerging economies. It was a “profits over people” argument. Interesting points from this interview…

1) Mohamad makes the case for ditching the U.S. dollar in several of the world’s fastest growing economies. How does he think that is going to end for everyone?

2) Mohamad barely China’s current debt problems. When asked about China’s economic challenges, he references “big debt” as a risk. Is he aware of the numbers behind his statements? Because that’s what we need to be discussing… not the theory but the reality.

3) He says: “A country's economy does not depend totally on interest rate movements.”

Can he please do us all a favor: Explain this to CNBC.


Monday’s Reading List

Bloomberg: Hedge Funds Are the Ultimate Survivors

Crypto Ninjas: AI hedge fund Numerai now live on Ethereum

Reuters: Oil traders hunt for shale's pain threshold: Kemp

Business Irish: 'You can be clever - but if you're not lucky, you're in trouble'

NY Post: Regulators Probing Legendary Hedge Fund’s Secret Trading Code

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The Daily Alpha is published on FINalternatives. Signup here for the daily FINalternatives Newsletter, which includes the Daily Alpha. Follow @FINalternatives  Be sure to check out the award-winning Modern Trader and a very special offer for first-time readers and follow @moderntradermag. You can also pick up a copy of the June Hedge Fund issue at Barnes & Noble.

Garrett Baldwin is the voice of the The Daily Alpha, the features editor for Modern Trader magazine, and the author of The Man with The Big Red Balloon. 


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