Set up as a family office by renowned French hedge fund entrepreneurs, Jean-Louis Juchault and David Obert, Puzzle Capital launched the Abrax Merger Arbitrage Fund in 2011. The fund is managed by Xavier Robinson, a merger arb manager with a strong pedigree and extensive experience of the strategy over the last 20 years. Since launch in May 2011, the fund has had no negative years and has generated double digit annualized net returns and was up 22.7% net in 2015. The fund will look to soft close at $350/400m and to hard close at $500m.
Xavier says the single most important aspect of merger arb is to avoid “deal breaks”, as it takes ten successful investments to make up the performance loss caused by one deal break. Xavier and his team have invested in over 600 deals, but have only experienced one (!) deal break since launch. This stellar track record is in part a team effort and also a reflection of Xavier’s deep skills in prop trading, portfolio management, and investment banking.
Puzzle Capital: Outperforming In Merger Arbitrage
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In this Opalesque.TV BACKSTAGE video, hear Xavier and Jean-Louis speak about:
- The criteria employed by Abrax to filter deals with examples of deals that were correctly avoided
- How the failed merger between SHIRE and ABBVIE in Oct. 2014 is still impacting markets today, contributing to pricing inefficiencies in spreads and creating attractive opportunities
- A review of Puzzle Capital’s best month and worst months
- The strategy outlook for merger arb
Puzzle Capital was founded by Jean-Louis Juchault and David Obert in 2009 as their family office and is regulated by the AMF in France. The two have worked together since 1989 (as MD & CEO, MD & CIO) at Barep Asset Management, a $5bn multi-strategy hedge fund. In 2001 they co-founded Systeia Capital Management which they sold in early 2008 to Credit Agricole.
Xavier Robinson has managed the Abrax fund since inception and has extensive experience of merger arbitrage investing. Xavier started his career in 1995 with BNP and then worked with Citigroup, Lehman and Dexia as a proprietary trader, fund manager and M&A banker. Xavier holds a Civil Engineering Degree from the Ecole Supérieure des Travaux Publics and an MSc in Finance from ESSEC (Paris).