The line-up for the upcoming Ira Sohn Conference is truly sensational. If hedge fund managers were to be compared with high profile celebrities, the Ira Sohn Foundation this time will gather all the A-listers for their Academy Awards.
The list of speakers includes the best from the hedge fund industry, the audience will get to hear from the hotest managers of Wall Street including David Einhorn and Bill Ackman.
The conference will be held May 8 in New York. Here is a roundup of who is set to make an appearance in the six-hour conference (or should we do a list of who is not appearing, HINT: All those who love HLF) and our musings on what they will likely talk about. Best of all, the proceeds of the event go to charity, so its a win win conference.
David Einhorn, so what do we want to hear from Einhorn? Well some Einhorning would be nice; he hasn’t done it since the last Value Investing Congress. On a serious note, Einhorn will be expected to talk about his recent tussle with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and if he intends to proceed with his proposal for preferred stock for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s shareholders.
Bill Ackman, where does on start on this one? Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) has been done over and over again and while it brings a lot of drama, this is not something we are looking forward to. Ackman has lost his ability to drive the stock down with his comments and it is simply not as much fun when Carl Icahn or Dan Loeb are not around. So we are hoping that Ackman will talk about his other positions more, but it is very probable that his big short in the nutritional supplements company will be under debate once again. Ackman has lately been criticized for his long position in J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP), so it might come up in the discussion.
Jim Chanos will also be speaking at the conference. Chanos has talked about his short thesis on iron ore mining, steel, the PC/Printer business in the past. He briefly agreed with Ackman’s short thesis on Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) in an interview with CNBC. He has lately talked mostly about China and the fraudulent business practices of large financial institutions, so these could be possible topics of his presentation.
Jeff Gundlach, tell us what number Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will hit next through your crystal ball?. He accurately predicted that Apple will fall to $425, so what else can one want from his next presentation. Gundlach, the bond king, is publicly shorting Apple. Period.
Paul Singer fights many battles these days, he does not like The Fed, Bernanke and Argentina. So any of these could come up in his presentation. Singer’s Elliott Management Corp has been involved in a back and forth exchange with Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES) which seems hellbent on not doing Elliott’s bidding.
Kyle Bass has been very bearish on Japan and is convinced that the economy will collapse under the present load of debt. He has talked about Japan in most of his recent interviews. The founder of Hayman Capital is also the only one in the conference who, according to our information, chose to side with Dan Loeb on Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), one-on-one with Bill Ackman, anyone?
Ira Sohn is also hosting an investing idea competition; the panel of judges includes Bill Ackman, David Einhorn, Seth Klarman and Michael Price and is headed by Joel Greenblatt. The contestants can send in their long/short ideas on equities or securities till May 2 and the winner gets to present his idea in front of some 3000 people, which gives the up-and-coming hedger some important exposure and funding at the same time.
Others who will be speaking at the 18th Annual Ira Sohn Conference are Steven Eisman from Emrys Partners, Mitchell Julis from Canyon Partners, Keith Mesiter from Corvex, Li Lu from Himalaya Capital, Tor Olav Troim from Seadrill,Clifton Robbins of Blue Harbour Group, David Stemerman from Conatus Capital Management and Stanley Druckenmiller.
So start working on your best investment idea, while we mull over how Ackman and Einhorn will co-judge this thing together with the ex-boyfriend thing in the mix.