Short-seller Jim Chanos to close hedge funds -WSJ

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(Reuters) -After nearly four decades, Jim Chanos is shutting down hedge funds he manages that wager against companies he believes are overpriced or fraudulent, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

His firm, Chanos & Co, manages less than $200 million today, down from $6 billion in 2008, the report said. Chanos expects to return most of his investors’ cash by Dec. 31, it said.

“It is no secret that the long/short equity business model has come under pressure and interest in fundamental stock pickers has waned,” Chanos wrote in a letter sent to investors and obtained by Bloomberg News.

“While I am as passionate as ever about research and investing, I feel compelled to pursue these passions in a different construct.”

Chanos & Co did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

Chanos is best known for his bets against energy trader Enron many months before the company’s December 2001 bankruptcy amid an accounting scandal.

The short-seller also placed profitable bets against troubled payments company Wirecard, which in 2020 said billions of euros it had booked in its account likely never existed.

Chanos is also famous for his campaigns against Tesla. He went short on the electric car company in 2016, but reduced his negative bet ahead of Tesla’s entry into the S&P 500 benchmark index in late 2020.

In February, Chanos unveiled a short position in General Electric Co, adding the company’s fair value was “way below” its current stock price. Shares in General Electric are up 83.4% this year.

(Reporting by Pritam Biswas in Bengaluru and Carolina Mandl in New York; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar and Tom Hogue)

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