Hedgemedia's AltInvestment Global News Round-Up: Hedge fund urges consolidation in US airline industry

Hedge funds have added fuel to merger talk in the US airline sector. Pardus Capital Management, a New York-based investor in both Delta Air Lines and United Airlines parent UAL, is trying to rally like-minded funds and other investors to support its proposal for the two airlines to merge. Pardus, established in 2005 by Credit Suisse alumnus Karim Samii, owns 2.4 per cent of Delta and 4.6 per cent of UAL.

New York-based Cornerstone Capital Management and its chief executive Joseph Profit of Atlanta, Georgia, were found liable for investor fraud and reporting violations in its Icon Fund. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission sought an injunction last January, alleging that Cornerstone and Profit had misrepresented trading gains in 2005 and 2006 as well as the value of assets in the firm's Icon Fund, while failing to file annual reports. Sanctions, which may include permanent injunction, restitution and civil financial penalties, have yet to be determined.

Placement agent C.P. Eaton Partners has opened an office in Shanghai headed by partner Edward Greene and plans to expand its business throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Greene, who was previously based at the firm's Rowayton, Connecticut headquarters, has led C.P. Eaton's expansion into Asia and is behind fund-raising for the launch of four independent Asia-focused funds. Another hire is Jingjing Bai, who recently joined the Shanghai office as an associate to focus on business development. The firm's current active client roster includes two Asia-focused funds.

Private equity giants keep hiring
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has hired three senior executives. Robert Gottlieb, who spent nearly two decades at Goldman Sachs in various roles as a managing director, has joined KKR as chief human resources officer. Edward Brandman has joined as chief information officer from PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he was a managing director in advisory services. He is now responsible for global technology and information strategy to support financial reporting, transactions and capital raising. David Sorkin, a veteran mergers and acquisitions lawyer formerly at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, is now KKR's general counsel.

Separately, the Carlyle Group has hired Norbert Reis from Credit Suisse, where he was a vice-chairman, to work on its European buyouts team, focusing on Germany and Austria.

Two small California managers have agreed to combine their operations. TLB Capital Management will merge with Morrison & Frazier Investment Management in January. San Francisco-based TLB's founder Thomas Lloyd-Butler will become investment chief of the merged company while Richard Morrison of Morrison & Frazier of Lafayette will serve as sub-adviser. Together they manage USD75m.

New York's Arbor Realty Trust, the largest shareholder of CBRE Realty Finance, has proposed acquiring the Hartford, Connecticut, real-estate investment trust. Arbor has offered USD8 a share to the CBRE trust, which is sponsored by commercial real estate company CB Richard Ellis, but CBRE Realty Finance has said it isn't interested in the proposed deal. Long Island-based Arbor already owns 9.4 per cent of the Reit.

Rreef Real Estate, part of Deutsche Bank's Rreef Alternative Investment business, has hired Sally Blatt as a director and portfolio manager and Alan Purser as vice-president for client relations. Blatt, based in San Francisco, reports to managing director and portfolio manager Kevin Howley, while Atlanta-based Purser is answerable to Laura Gaylord, managing director and head of North American client relations. Blatt previously worked at Equity Office as regional leasing director, while Purser comes from Buchanan Street Partners, where he handled relationships with regional real estate operating partners.

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