Dan Loeb Exit Herbalife, Doubles Down On Greece And Japan

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Dan Loeb has been one of the few hedge fund managers to manage to squeeze decent returns from assets in the first three months of 2013. The manager will release a 13F filing next week which will give some clue as to his performance in the first three months, but until then his recent comments at the SALT conference should suffice to give an insight into the fund manager’s thinking.

Dan Loeb Exits Herbalife

There are three major takeaways from the SALT conference. Loeb likes Japan and Greece, and he thinks that his long bet on Herbalife Ltd (NYSE:HLF) was played out as soon as Carl Icahn took a stake in the company. Loeb’s Third Point LLC disclosed an 8 percent share of the company’s float for the fourth quarter.

Michelle Celarier over at the New York Post takes a look at Loeb’s comments on Herbalife, the most concrete of which were made in an off the record interview with Anthony Scaramucci. Loeb said in that interview that after Carl Icahn took a stake in the firm, he felt the bet had “run its course”, and turned his attention to other matters.

In his presentation, Loeb made fun of Bill Ackman, who is shorting Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), pretending to forget the fund manager’s name, and stating that the reason Third Point came out on top with Herbalife Ltd (NYSE:HLF) was that it relied on cash flow, rather than Ackman’s slides, to prove the company’s worth.

During the conference Loeb also revealed some of his bets on the macro economy, indicating where he thinks the world’s economy is headed. There are two major themes. Japan is inflating the Yen, that’s good for Japanese stocks, and the country’s leaders understood how to get the economy moving again.

Over at the Wall Street Journal, Gregory Zuckerman described Dan Loeb’s hopes for Japan. Loeb thinks that Abenomics, as Japan’s new stimulus is called, will “spark an economic turnaround after years of sluggish growth.” Putting his money where his mouth is, Loeb is buying up shares in Japanese stocks.

Loeb’s other big bet on the world economy is, according to his comments in Las Vegas, an ongoing bet on Greek debt. Loeb said that he more than doubled his initial bet on Greek debt, indicating that he’s certain the country will pay its bonds, and his returns.

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