Hedge-Fund Firms Pressed to Consolidate After Losses Erode Fees

Bloomberg – Mohammed Syed has spent the past seven years scouting out the best hedge-fund investments for clients of his Axiom Fund Manager Ltd. Now, he’s seeking to expand the $100 million he oversees by acquiring rivals.

“I am looking for two or even three firms that can complement my business,” said Syed, 45, who founded London-based Axiom in 2002. “A year ago most people wanted huge premiums for their businesses, but now it’s a different story.”

Hedge funds are consolidating after record investment losses and customer withdrawals cut assets by 37 percent in the second half of 2008, squeezing their main source of fees. As many as 40 percent of the 9,000 hedge funds and funds of funds may disappear in the next two years, according to Karamvir Gosal, a New York- based investment banker at Jefferies Putnam Lovell. While some will return money to investors and shut their doors, mergers and acquisitions will be more prevalent than in the past.

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