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Here’s Why Shares of this Publicly Traded Hedge Fund Are Soaring

August 2, 2016, 5:38 PM UTC
Daniel S. Och, chairman and chief executive officer of Och-Z
Photograph by Bloomberg — Getty Images

Och-Ziff Capital Management (OZM) on Tuesday reported a second-quarter loss after the largest publicly traded U.S. hedge fund company set aside $214.3 million to eventually settle bribery charges with the U.S. government.

Chief Financial Officer Joel Frank said the company hoped to end the matter in the near future. Shares of Och-Ziff were up 6% at $3.55 in premarket trading.


Och-Ziff’s partners are planning to put in up to $500 million to pay for the eventual settlement, signaling their faith in the company’s future. The company also said William Barr, a former U.S. attorney general, would join its board on Aug. 9.

Investors, however, are taking a more cautious approach to Och-Ziff both because of the lingering government probe and hedge funds’ generally lackluster performance in the last 18 months.

Assets under management stood at $42 billion at the end of the quarter, down 12% from a year earlier. By Monday, assets had declined to $39 billion, with the company reporting another $3 billion in outflows.

Och-Ziff again paid no dividend for the quarter.

The distributable loss of $184.3 million, or 35 cents per share, compares with year-earlier earnings of $95.2 million, or 18 cents a share.

Without the reserve accrual, distributable earnings would have been 6 cents a share, just missing the analysts’ average estimate of 7 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

During the first half of the year, the company’s flagship OZ Master Fund, which invests money for many pension funds and foreign governments, lost 2.1%. The average hedge fund made a little money.

Last week, Och-Ziff replaced Joseph Samuels, its head U.S. stocks trader, with Rob Johnson and Elan Luger.

Och-Ziff’s credit-oriented strategies were more popular, with investors adding $1.4 billion in new money during the quarter to boost assets to $12.4 billion.

The U.S. Justice Department has been investigating whether Och-Ziff bribed Libyan government officials to win an investment mandate from the country’s sovereign wealth fund.

The department is also investigating whether loans Och-Ziff made funded illegal payments to the government in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the company invested in natural resources.