Friday, October 7, 2016

When Genius Failed (Chapter 6)

     By now LTM felt that the bond arbitrage competition was heating up. This lead to Meriwether’s idea of the firm expanding their horizons. Meriwether wanted his firm to “apply their brains and methodology to businesses outside the normal scope of hedge funds (97).”  With more than $5 billion in equity, LTM needed to invest, to keep up its rate of return. They decided to go into commercial mortgages, in turn LTM almost crashed the market. Before LTM, the commercial market was at $30 billion of new issues per year, overnight LTM changed that number to $60 billion.
     Along with investing the commercial mortgages market, LTM decided to invest in equities overseas. Comapanies they invested in included, Royal Dutch Petroleum of the Netherlands and Shell Transport of England. Victor Haghani, the LTM representative overseas bet a total of $2.3 billion, half on Shell and half on Royal Dutch. LTM also decided to invest in equity in America, Larry Hilibrand, the LTM representative, began betting on merger arbitrage. This was an area LTM had zero expertize, but Hilibrand still decided to invest. Hilibrand set a deal with CBS, which is known to be the most controversial deal in firm history. 
     Later that summer, LTM was hit with bad news, that the MCI merger had reduced in price and MCI’s stock declined rapidly. This resulted in Long Term losing $150 million overnight. This was the first true sign of LTM taking too many big risks. However, some good news hit the firm, Merton and Scholes won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science for their “new method to determine the value of derivatives.”

-        In your opinion do you think Meriwether’s idea of expanding his firm’s thoughts outside of hedge funds was a good idea? 

-        Who were LTM’s biggest competitors in the bond arbitrage market?

1 comment:

  1. I thought it was a bad idea for them to invest outside of hedge funds. They didn't really seem to know much about some of these things that they were betting on or investing in. They kept on taking these risks because they rarely had the negative experiences that are associated with taking risks. For the bets they made on mergers happening, they didn't have any idea of how they worked, but rather went with what they seemed to be safe. It just didn't make sense because they could have easily invested that money elsewhere in something that they knew about and still made money rather than doing something they're clueless about and potentially lose a lot.