It’s been a busy day for Anthony Scaramucci. The man The Wall Street Journal characterized as a “hedge fund showman” had just sold his business, SkyBridge Capital, for undisclosed terms. The hurried sale occurred as Scaramucci was looking to fry bigger fish for the Trump administration. The ink was barely dry on his deal to sell Skybridge Capital and his ever expanding hedge fund conference business when “Mooch,” as he is known in certain Wall Street circles, found his show on the road again, this time in Davos, Switzerland defending the Trump administration to the global elite.
SkyBridge sells fund of funds business to Chinese interests
The SkyBridge deal, estimated to be worth $200 million with incentives that could take it to $230 million, came in many parts.
SkyBridge Capital, the “fund of funds” investment business allocates to a variety of hedge funds and then packages smaller chunks of the investment to the mass affluent, such as doctors, lawyers and corporate executives. This group was sold to HNA Capital U.S., an active investment business acquirer controlled by Chinese billionaire Chen Feng, as well as RON Transatlantic EG, a holding company for businesses in financial services, logistics, energy and brewing, according to a statement.
The popular SALT investment conference, started in 2005, quickly became one of the top hedge fund industry conferences and is attended by nearly 2,000 annually. That business was purchased by Victor Oviedo, SkyBridge head of business development, and Kelly O’Connor, a director of business development, according to a Bloomberg report, quoting an unnamed source.
Scaramucci owns 45% of SkyBridge, with other partners including Australian Investment Challenger Ltd. SkyBridge Chief Investment Officer Raymond Nolte.
Selling the firm under a quick timeframe was challenging and occurred at a particularly soft moment for the fund of funds industry. HSBC’s Hedge Weekly performance ranking for the Multi-Strategy / Global Hedge Funds, which consisted primarily of the bank’s products, was down -1.66% to end 2016, a year in which the S&P 500 sported near 12% performance. Likewise SkyBridge struggled to deliver performance. SkyBridge’s $480 million SkyBridge Dividend Value Fund lagged 80 percent of its peers this past year, ranking 433rd out of 519 funds according to Lipper, a unit of Thomson Reuters.
Anthony Scaramucci deflects Chinese criticism of Trump trade policies
Scaramucci recently found himself in a position to deflect Chinese criticism. He wasn’t batting back concerns regarding the sale of his company to a Chinese concern, he found himself defending the Trump administration in Davos in the wake of comments by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The Chinese leader found himself in the odd position of defending capitalist free market concepts such as free trade and globalization, issues that Trump has said trampled the middle class.
In Davos, Scaramucci said China needs to “allow us to create this symmetry because the path to globalism for the world is through the American worker and the American middle class.” He said the benefits of globalization were in the room at Davos while those suffering were the middle class worker. Change needed to occur and Trump, he argued, “could be one of the last great hopes for globalism.”
But it wasn’t just trade where Scaramucci was on the defensive.
With Trump’s Twitter tirades becoming confusing to markets and world leaders alike, Scaramucci sought to sooth frayed nerves. “He’s not necessarily communicating in a way that the people in this community would love,” Scaramucci was quoted as saying, “but he is communicating very, very effectively to a very large group of the population in Europe and in the United States that are feeling a common struggle right now that maybe many of us here in this room do not feel.”