Hedgemedia's AltInvestment Global News Round-Up: JC Flowers in the running for troubled UK mortgage bank

US private equity firm JC Flowers is said to have secured GBP15bn of funding from other banks to buy battered UK mortgage bank Northern Rock. It wants to keep the bank as a single entity. Citigroup is reportedly among the banks offering funding to Northern Rock bidders.

Northern Rock suffered a run on customer deposits after it emerged that the bank had sought emergency funding from the Bank of England, after the short-term funding it used to underpin its mortgage lending dried up in the wake of the US sub-prime crisis.

Cooper Hill Partners of New York is closing its doors due to asset redemptions triggered by mounting losses. The USD300m healthcare hedge fund manager saw redemptions of roughly 15 per cent of its assets at the September quarter-end, portfolio manager Alexander Casdin said in a letter to investors.

Cooper Hill's CLSP, CLSP II and CLSP Overseas funds were down 10.9 per cent, 10.8 per cent and 10.3 per cent respective in the eight months to the end of August, and the three funds are estimated to have dropped a further 1.5 per cent last month. The decline in assets has strained the firm's infrastructure, which was built for a much higher asset base. Casdin's father, Jeff Casdin, established the firm in 1997 with USD12 million in assets.

BlackRock completes acquisition of Quellos funds of funds
BlackRock, which bills itself as the world's largest listed investment management firm, has completed its acquisition of the fund of hedge funds arm of Quellos Group and has renamed the business BlackRock Alternative Advisors.

Mayer Brown and one of its attorneys, Joseph Collins, have been added to a securities fraud lawsuit brought last year by former Refco shareholders. The Chicago firm was Refco's primary outside legal counsel, handling business such as regulatory and transactional work.

The suit alleges that Collins and his colleagues allowed Refco to issue false and misleading statements to investors in its initial public offering and other transactions. The suit already names 30 defendants, including Refco's former auditor Grant Thornton. The suit was filed in April last year against one of the world's biggest commodity brokerages, which collapsed amid an accounting scandal two years ago.

Global hedge fund assets soared nearly 20 per cent in the first six months of this year to USD2.5trn, according to a survey by HedgeFund Intelligence. The survey, conducted with around 5,000 single-manager hedge funds, found that most of the fresh money came from new investors rather than asset growth.

Perella Weinberg acquires special situations manager
Perella Weinberg Partners has snapped up Xerion Capital Partners, a distressed credit and special situations manager in New York, for an undisclosed amount. Daniel Arbess, Xerion's founder and investment chief, will join Perella as a partner, along with the rest of its investment and business teams.

Perella expects to invest USD100m in strategies managed by Xerion, which has been in business since January 2003. Perella, which was established in June 2006, has so far raised USD1bn from investors.

Deephaven Capital alumnus Matthew Halbower's Pentwater Capital Management has raised USD700m for his new solo hedge fund and expects to more than double assets by year-end. The Chicago outfit invests in merger arbitrage and other event-driven and credit strategies, in line with the strategies Halbower pursued at Deephaven. Among other anticipated launches is Robson Ventures, a firm founded by Phil Duff, formerly of Morgan Stanley and co-founder of FrontPoint Partners.

Global venture capital investments in clean technology exceeded USD11bn in the first half of 2007, according to a new report. Investments in solar and alternative fuels are on the rise both in the US and Europe. Another report said 2006 was a record year for the sector with venture and private equity firms pouring in USD18.2bn, 67 per cent higher than 2005.

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