The New `Killing It': Being SAC-Remote

By Teri Buhl for

Teri Buhl is an investigative financial news reporter who has written for the New York Post, Trader Monthly, Housingwire, and Dealbreaker.

Since we all first learned at Dealbreaker that Stevie Cohen’s ex-wife thinks he operates outside the lines of the law- we thought we’d look into who else felt the same.

What we found is that almost everyone in hedge fund land also trades equities like Stevie does – and they’re starting to move away from anything that looks like they’re a mini-me SAC. In fact, there’s a new buzz word the titans who run other billion-dollar funds are using to direct their legions: being `SAC-REMOTE'.

Funds like Blue Ridge, Greenlight, Third Point, Glenview, and Maverick are cutting back on any contact with King Stevie. When we asked major players such as Jim Chanos and others if they’ve been pinging Stevie about a trade lately, you’ll get a very defensive `no.' Why? Because word on the street is they all think FBI special agent BJ Kang, who is now dogging Stevie, has the goods to deliver the hammer soon in the form an indictment or arrest for insider trading.

Extra measures are being taken to hire data-miners to comb through any and all emails firms and their trading consultants ever sent to anyone at SAC in an attempt to erase them from internet memory. According to traders we talked with, they are even going as far as getting out of trades that might look similar to any of Stevie’s. So it looks like running due diligence on your `SAC risk' to prove to your investors that you’re clean – like Larry Robbins of Glenview capital just did – is the new `killing it'.

Now that we’ve got Patricia Cohen’s tell-all lawsuit that reads like another white-collar crime novel in the making, the FBI just received a huge layup. The ex-Mrs.-SAC has flat-out told us Stevie had revealed he used inside info to score a nice profit on trading GE’s acquisition of RCA in 1985. And let’s keep in mind, as Matt Goldstein at Reuters pointed out this week, Stevie didn't deny these allegations (according to Patricia Cohen's suit, filed last Wednesday). Instead he choose to take the 5th.

Word among journalists is that draft copies of the ex-Mrs.-SAC’s lawsuit had been floating out there for a while but no one thought she’d actually file it. Boy are we glad she did. If we look at another very SAC-friendly story that just happened to be printed by Alex Berenson at the New York Times the same day Patricia filed her juicy lawsuit, we think it shows Stevie knew a woman once scorned for being allegedly cheated out of hundreds of millions was going to be big trouble for him.

The coverage, which some say shows Berenson was played by SAC’s stealth pressmen at Sard Verbinnen to write a ‘defense piece’ before all hell broke loose, was even highlighted that fatal Wednesday by NY Mag’s Jessica Pressler who wrote, “So there you go, readers. The Times isn’t coddling you. It just doesn’t have room for the whole truth.” Ouch!

Let’s just say hedgies going SAC-remote means those famed ‘idea dinners’ the NYT Dealbook likes to write about (get story ideas from) are likely out of the question for now.

Update, 12/23/09:

Executives at Greenlight Capital have reached out to Hedge-Fund Implode in an attempt to show some support for Mr. SAC.

Greenlight says,"We have never asked any employee at Greenlight to cut back any contact with SAC Capital or Mr. Cohen." But not all those whom Einhorn's firm talks to operate under the same rules as the house of Greenlight. According to people who've acted as consultants to Greenlight who spoke with us, they've been questioned on whether their research involved acquiring material info in a way that Stevie allegedly gets his. Also, they've been told that if they are planing on selling some of their same trading ideas/research to SAC they might want to think twice about it—because, you know, getting your research on a trade shared by SAC could be dangerous these days. And for this, Greenlight had no comment. Personally we think it's great Einhorn is going to great lengths to make sure anything coming into his house is "clean."

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