$6.2b The camera and optical equipment maker’s offer puts it ahead of rival bidders Fujifilm Holdings and a group that includes Konica Minolta and Permira Holdings. After a massive accounting scandal, Toshiba is focusing on making televisions and compute
Canon bids for Toshiba’s medical unit.
fee equal to 2 percent of assets, plus 20 percent on any profits— Kooyker charges 2.25 and 25, according to Blenheim investor letters and presentations.
In 2011 the fund sank 23.5 percent, one of its worst years. More red ink flowed in 2012 and 2013, and again last year. The difficult run is particularly notable because Kooyker has been known for rigorous risk management. If one of his portfolio managers runs up a 10 percent loss, higher-ups demand to know why. If a loss reaches 20 percent, managers are forced to sell positions and take monthlong leaves. If they do worse than that, they’re usually shown the door.
People familiar with Blenheim say that, in retrospect, the firm’s assets grew so quickly during the early 2000s that Kooyker had trouble spotting moneymaking opportunities. NEPC, a consulting firm that advises pension funds about where to invest, also pointed to some problems. Blenheim “in some instances has been premature” with a strategy that later turned out to be right, NEPC said in a March 2014 presentation to the University of Maine’s committee that oversees endowment and pension funds. In some cases, NEPC said, Blenheim would respond to losses by reducing its exposure to risk, only to miss out on gains when the market rebounded.
Today, 50-odd employees help Kooyker run several funds. Historically he’s managed about 75 percent of the assets himself, but Kooyker now runs as little as 15 percent, according to a presentation in February by NEPC for the University of Maine funds. It said “this may signal a move towards his retirement.”
His longtime lieutenant and numbers whiz, Thomas Kopczynski, remains a key trader, people familiar with the structure say. Several other Blenheim traders have left. The question is whether more investors will depart, too. So far, Kooyker is heeding Churchill’s advice: Never give in. �Javier Blas
Imperial Oil sells gas stations. The Canadian company, majority-owned by Exxonmobil, is selling almost 500 Essobranded outlets.
Alvogen buys County Line. Both companies specialize in generic drugs and were started in the past decade by executives who had left larger pharmaceutical makers.
Everlane shops for investors. The online apparel startup values itself at a quarter of a billion dollars as it seeks a fresh round of capital. It has raised $18 million in previous rounds.
Hallmark Cards takes Crown Media private. The stationery giant already owns 90 percent of Crown, a cable-tv company that operates the Hallmark Channel, among others.
India hawks Container Corp. The country is raising money by selling 5 percent of the state-run logistics company, which operates rail cargo depots, in a public offering.
Adecco branches out. The world’s largest temporary staffing company bought Penna Consulting, an executive-recruiting firm in the U.K.
The genome gets cheaper. Veritas Genetics priced a service that sequences all 6 billion letters of a person’s individual DNA. It will be introduced next month. The bottom line The commodities rout seems to have caught one of the best traders by surprise, despite his focus on controlling risk.
Edited by Pat Regnier Bloomberg.com
Right before Christmas, two power companies in Ukraine were simultaneously targeted in what’s now regarded as the world’s first successful cyber attack on a public utility. The hackers (most likely Russians) knocked out electricity to more than 80,000 customers for several hours. Luckily, Ukraine’s power grid is somewhat antiquated, and authorities were able to restore electricity in a few hours by resetting breakers by hand. The lesson: In the age of cybercrime, the best insurance may be analog.
As we’ve rushed to connect everything from power plants to home thermostats to the Internet, the risk of a catastrophic cyber attack has multiplied, because the systems people rely on are now more complex, communicative, and concentrated. “You’re buying a capability, but at the same time you’re buying a vulnerability,” says Richard Danzig, former secretary of the Navy and a senior fellow at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. “A digital attacker can take out all systems with one attack.” That’s why Danzig recommends deploying physical backup hardware in the most vulnerable places of the U. S. power grid, military installations, and other key infrastructure. “My argument is that, if your main system is digital, you’re stronger if your safeguard is analog.”
Danzig’s thinking came out of the nuclear power industry, where the recent push to digitize control systems has raised concerns among several experts. “If all the computers fail at a plant, those analog systems kick in, the rods go to the core, cool down the reactor, and there’s no release of radiation,” says Perry Pederson, a former member of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and cofounder of the Langner Group, a security consultant that specializes in infrastructure and large-scale manufacturing. “You can’t lie to analog equipment. You can’t tell a valve that it’s opened when it’s closed. It’s physics.”
What’s lost in digitization is the concept of defense in depth, according to Joe Weiss, managing partner of Applied Control Solutions and a cybersecurity consultant to the power industry. “Defense in depth means you have layers of protection,” he says. “But digital, even when it claims to have multiple layers, is in a sense one layer. Penetrate that, and you could potentially no longer have another