Goldman Sachs hedge fund gets $3 billion bailout

ByUSA Today

NEW YORK -- Goldman Sachs Group gs Monday said a group of investors that includes Eli Broad and Hank Greenberg will sink $3 billion into one of its biggest hedge funds, which has seen its value plunge amid market volatility.

The investment bank said its Global Equity Opportunities fund "suffered significantly" as global markets sold off on worries about debt and credit. The fund lost as much as 14% of its value during the past 12 months, according to media reports, and is currently worth about $3.6 billion.

Goldman Sachs will lead the group of investors to help bail out the hedge fund, which relies on computer-driven trading strategies. Other investors include Broad, Greenberg's C.V. Starr, and Perry Capital.

In addition, the investment bank said that two other hedge funds it manages — Global Alpha and the North American Equities Opportunities Fund — have also suffered during the market dislocation. Goldman said it "reduced risk and leverage" in the funds to stem losses.

"At their current levels of equity capital, we believe the funds are positioned to actively pursue market opportunities," Goldman said in a statement.

Goldman, one of the world's premiere financial companies, joins Bear Stearns bsc and France's BNP Paribas in revealing that its hedge funds have been slammed by the credit market crisis. There is some $2 trillion believed to be held in hedge funds globally.

Bear Stearns earlier this summer disclosed that two of its multibillion dollar hedge funds were wiped out because of heavy bets on mortgage-backed securities. BNP Paribas said last week it would freeze three funds invested in U.S. asset-backed securities.

Quantitative funds like Goldman Sachs' that rely on computer models to make investments have taken a beating because of triple-digit swings on Wall Street during the past few weeks. Other financial institutions are also expected to reveal to what extent their funds have suffered as well.

Britain's Barclays bcs, in the midst of a takeover battle for Switzerland's UBS ubs, may be among the banks that is having troubles. Barclays Global investors is one of the world's biggest fund managers, with some $2 trillion in assets under management.

The Global Equity Opportunities fund fell "in the low 30s" in percentage terms this year, Goldman Chief Financial Officer David Viniar said in a conference call.

"Many funds employing quantitative strategies are currently under pressure as recent conditions have resulted in significant market dislocation," Goldman said. "Across most sectors, there has been an increase in overlapping trades, a surge in volatility, and an increase in correlations. These factors have combined to challenge many of the trading algorithms used in quantitative strategies."

The struggles represent a setback for Goldman Sachs Asset Management, which has amassed more than $30 billion in hedge funds over the years and generated more than $1 billion in fees in the second-quarter.