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The Alpha Masters: Loeb, Ackman, Chanos, Tepper [UPDATED]

The Alpha Masters: Loeb, Ackman, Chanos, Tepper [UPDATED]

The Alpha Masters: Unlocking the Genius of the World’s Top Hedge Funds by Maneet Ahuja is best described as Money Masters on Steroids. The book portrays the Alpha Masters, the greatest hedge fund legends of our time. This point will be reiterated, but this book has exclusive details on all of the people listed below.

  • Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world, with $125 billion under management.
  • Pierre LaGrange & Tim Won, MAN Group/AHL
  • John Paulson, Paulson & Co.
  • Marc Lasry & Sonia Gardner, Avenue Capital
  • David Tepper, Appaloosa Management
  • Bill Ackman, Pershing Square Capital, who recently won a successful activist campaign against Canadian Pacific
  • Dan Loeb, Third Point, the largest shareholder of Yahoo! Inc., and a board Jim Chanos, Kynikos Associates, and famous short seller.
  • Boaz Weinstein, Saba Capital Management, who Bill Ackman called the greatest credit investor of our time.

All the above names are famous hedge fund managers some are more reclusive than others. David Tepper rarely gives interviews and tends to avoid the media. On the other hand, Daniel Loeb is much more willing to be out there in the media and is now famous for his successful campaign to implement change at Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO). However, both for Tepper and Loeb readers will learn facts they never knew.

The book gives you a personal account of Dan Loeb, including pictures of the boy from California surfing. The book discusses in depth his campaign to unlock shareholder value at Yahoo! Inc. Loeb discusses recent purchases of stocks with exposure to emerging markets, including; Swatch, Mercedes and Volkswagen AG (ETR:VOW) (FRA:VOW). Loeb states that these companies have ’emerging markets growth with domestic market valuations.’

Readers are taken from the very early days of Jim Chanos when he was a young analyst, to Chanos’ famous short of Enron, and subsequently other companies including Tyco. Chanos discusses his latest short (China), and specifically mentions China MediaExpress Holdings Inc (PINK:CCME) (see important update at bottom of article), as a company he believes is committing fraud. He holds several reverse Chinese mergers as short positions.

The books’ timing could not be better. With the release date scheduled for May 29th, many of these already famous investors are in the spotlight once again. Loeb as mentioned above, just outwitted the management of Yahoo. Yahoo! is already in talks to monetize Yahoo!’s crown jewel, Alibaba.

Additionally, Boaz Weinstein is all over the news as the man who took the other side of the trade, which has cost JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), several billion dollars. Ironically, Weinstein pitched this exact trade at the Harbor Conference for Boys in Girls, which Ms. Ahuja arranged earlier this year. According to Julia La Roche of Business Insider, Boaz Weinstein is up in May 16%. JP Morgan’s losses have now reached over $7 billion according to reports today.

Bill Ackman has just finished a long proxy battle for control over Canadian Pacific. Ackman won the battle just last week, and his pick for board members and CEO, will be honored by the company.

Ackman has also been active in changing things at J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP). He sees the company as the next Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Ackman who owns approximately 18% of JCP shares, brought in the man who designed Apple stores, Ron Johnson to be the CEO. Ackman’s plan is to transform JCP into Apple stores, and Ackman recently stated that JCP could be worth 10x more than the current price.

Ahuja also goes into one of the greatest buys ever, when Ackman bought General Growth Properties Inc. (NYSE:GGP), for less than a quarter, and made over $2 billion on the investment.

David Tepper spills the beans to Ms. Ahuja in the book. He was a very smart math whiz who was also a self-described clown in high school. Tepper was passed up for partner at Goldman Sachs before starting his successful hedge fund, Appaloosa Management. Tepper gets both personal and into his investment style.

We will not get into all the details of the book. Ray Dalio, who runs a very secretive shop at Bridgewater, tells his story in depth.

For one last time, it must be emphasized that this book has exclusive details. It is not a recycled version of everything in the news. Ahuja was able to get personal access to these alpha masters, and get them to reveal both personal and investment details.

This book is a must read for anyone interested in the above nine fund managers, or the hedge fund industry in general. Even for someone with no interest in hedge funds, the stories of rags to riches of many of these men is a story in itself. The Alpha Masters is written on a level which both a novice and experienced investor could appreciate.

(An earlier version of the article stated that Jim Chanos was short Focus Media Holding Limited (NYSE:FMCN), the book states that he is short China MediaExpress Holdings Inc (PINK:CCME), which has now been rectified. The author of this article spoke to sources who believe that Chanos is short FMCN, but we could not confirm it.)