Hedge Fund Betting on Lawsuits Is Spreading

Bloomberg – For better or worse, the lawsuit-finance market continues to grow. Hedge funds and others speculating on litigation are making more and larger bets. Some corporate lobbyists warn that the new financial engineering encourages wasteful courtroom warfare, but investor demand for fat returns—and big law firms’ appetite for business—guarantee the spread of litigation finance.

Burford Capital, the largest player in the nascent U.S. litigation-finance business, on Wednesday reported strong results for 2014. Revenue rose 35 percent, to $82 million, with a 43 percent rise in operating profit, to $61 million, Burford said. Celebrating its fifth anniversary, U.K.-based Burford has built a $500 million arsenal, Chief Executive Officer Christopher Bogart says. All told, it has made 32 investments that have generated $209 million in gross recoveries and $78 million net of its invested capital, he adds.

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