Tags: JAT | hedge fund | Thaler | Shumway

Hedge Fund JAT Says It's Closing to Become Family Office

Tuesday, 12 May 2015 01:28 PM

John Thaler, founder of JAT Capital, is returning client money to turn his $1.7 billion hedge fund firm into a family office.

“As I approach my 20th anniversary working in the financial services industry, with the last eight spent building and managing JAT Capital, it is the right moment to take a break, spend time with my young family and determine which path to pursue next,” Thaler, 39, wrote in a letter to investors, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg.

Thaler started New York-based JAT in 2007 with startup money from Chris Shumway, whom he worked for at Shumway Capital Partners from 2002 to 2007. JAT’s assets rose to about $3 billion in 2011 when Thaler profited from bets on and against stocks. The equity focused firm, which employs 35 people, plans to return investor money by the end of June, so it can sell positions strategically and prudently, according to the letter.

Catherine Jones, a spokeswoman for JAT with Polisi Jones Communications, declined to comment on the closing.

Hedge funds have been closing their doors or returning outside capital at a rapid clip as new regulations have increased costs and as industry returns have trailed benchmarks. In 2014, 864 hedge funds closed their doors, according to data provider Hedge Fund Research Inc.

Closing Funds

Earlier this year, two hedge funds seeded by billionaire Julian Robertson shut — TigerShark Management and Tiger Consumer Management. Gideon King decided to shutter his approximately $1 billion Loeb King Capital Management in January, calling the business of managing hedge funds “cumbersome.”

JAT had $3.5 billion of publicly disclosed U.S. equity holdings at the end of the first quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The firm’s largest industry positions were in technology and consumer stocks, with the biggest equity stakes in Time Warner Cable Inc., Twitter Inc. and Yahoo! Inc., a regulatory filing shows. It was also a significant shareholder in Madison Square Garden Co.

The filings don’t show non-U.S. securities, holdings that aren’t publicly traded, or cash.

Thaler said in the letter he intends to step back from day- to-day investing for a few months to assess his next steps and that stock picking will remain a central focus of his professional endeavors.

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John Thaler, founder of JAT Capital, is returning client money to turn his $1.7 billion hedge fund firm into a family office.
JAT, hedge fund, Thaler, Shumway
Tuesday, 12 May 2015 01:28 PM
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