the angry investor: an introduction

the new yorker (april 2005) on the snarkfest that is daniel loeb of third point:

Dept. of Noisemaking

The Angry Investor

… no one seems quite as energized these days as Daniel Loeb, the forty-something multimillionaire who has positioned himself as a kind of investor’s H. L. Mencken, dedicated to puncturing the social habits and pretensions of powerful executives from his courtside perch at Third Point L.L.C., a hedge fund on Madison Avenue.

Loeb’s favored device is the scolding letter, formally addressed, publicly released, and ruthlessly frank in its assessments of managerial competence. He writes the boards and C.E.O.s of companies that his fund has invested in, complaining, in effect, that they are not making him and his clients enough money. And, like a certain kind of basketball fan unhappy with an overpaid, underperforming point guard, he recommends, in hyperbolic language (“to ensure you a dazzling place in the firmament of bad management”), that they be replaced—benched. To some degree, his manner is that of the traditional Wall Street crank: swagger and self-interest disguised as moralistic bombast.

What Loeb brings, in terms of value-added, is tacked-on social commentary: the sly references to Brooks Brothers (“out-dated men’s fashions catering to the country club set”) or to “the Appalachian coal men coming with aspirations to wear crocodile skin cowboy boots, silver spurs and ten-gallon hats.” His style—call it hedge-fund populism—has earned him a wide readership that extends far beyond the shareholders and directors who have an interest in the matter at hand. Each new abusive dispatch makes the rounds among financial professionals, as Loeb’s more astute fans and detractors take note of his recurring motifs: chauffeurs, hobnobbing, the phrase “inexplicable insouciance.” …

read more

exhihit a: letter to CEO of star gas

exhibit b: letter to ken griffin of citadel

exhibit c: email exchange with potential recruit

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