Millennium asked Weiss to cut staff, expel clients in deal talks

Millennium Management demanded a number of significant changes at Weiss Multi-Strategy Advisers as part of failed talks to take over the troubled hedge fund, including firing all but five portfolio managers, winding down the firm’s core staff and kicking out client cash.

The details were included in email correspondence made public Friday (May 24) as part of Weiss’s bankruptcy proceedings. The negotiations took place in late February, and ultimately fell apart when Millennium walked away. Weiss went on to file for court protection in April.

Millennium also sought to control Weiss’ finances and wouldn’t take on any existing liabilities other than some obligations to strategic partner Leucadia Asset Management, according to a Feb 22 email from Millennium Chief Strategic Development Officer Mark Meskin to Weiss founder George Weiss and deputy Chief Investment Officer Mike Edwards. Millennium founder Izzy Englander was cc-ed on the email.

Millennium also asked that Weiss Chief Investment Officer Jordi Visser step down, the emails shows. Bloomberg previously reported the request. Millennium also wanted new contracts to be drawn up for portfolio managers that included protections for the firm, and asked for “additional protections” related to portfolio manager departures.

A representative for Millennium declined to comment. Spokespeople for Weiss and Leucadia didn’t respond to requests seeking comment made after regular business hours.

The slew of details offers a rare glimpse into deal negotiations between hedge funds, which have become more frequent as industry giants get bigger and seek external firms to run their cash and optimize costs.

GET BT IN YOUR INBOX DAILY

Start and end each day with the latest news stories and analyses delivered straight to your inbox.

Millennium offered to provide Weiss as much as US$30 million to repay Leucadia, an affiliate of Jefferies Financial Group, and obtain a “full release” of any future obligations, emails show. It also offered to give Weiss US$25 million to use as retention payments for portfolio managers. BLOOMBERG

Source: www.businesstimes.com.sg”