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Dan Loeb knows how to stir the pot

Loeb,   founder of Third Point LLC,   participates in a panel discussion during the Skybridge Alternatives Conference in Las Vegas

Third Point hedge fund manager Dan Loeb has turned $3 million into $17.5 billion by being a cagey investor and a proverbial “kochlefel” (pot stirrer). His letters to the CEOs of major corporations are legendary, as in this short missive empathizing with Jerry Yang, CEO of Yahoo for “the abysmal record of the current leadership (which) must be heart-rending to you personally, as well as damaging to your net worth.”

The billionaire activist investor has been described as “one of the best investors of our generation, ” but he hasn’t let it go to his head.

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His down-to-earth philosophy of investing has been a cornerstone to his success over the past 20 years: “Our philosophy is to be opportunistic all the way across the capital structure from debt to equity, across industries and different asset classes, ” Loeb says.

But Daniel doesn’t underestimate the inherent pitfalls of his business, especially since the fall of Lehman Brothers, when Third Point suffered tremendous losses: “Capitalism without bankruptcy is like Christianity without hell, ” he reminds his friends.

Where did all this business acumen come from? Loeb gives a great deal of credit to his great aunt, Ruth Handler, the creator of the Barbie doll: “I associated success in business with Hot Wheels and Barbie dolls. I think it was a very powerful enforcer early on to like business.”

Loeb’s personal wealth of over 2 billion has allowed him to be a major philanthropist; he is a generous supporter of charter schools, and makes large donations to fund Alzheimer research.

Of course, he can’t resist giving advice about the political scene and in typical kochlefel style, he has some biting words about President Obama, a classmate of his at Columbia University.

“The book ‘He’s Just Not that Into You’ seems like the perfect holiday stuffer for true blue Democrats who just can’t get enough of our President’s smack down on hard working successful Americans known as the 2%.” As someone in the top 2% of the 2%, Daniel Loeb should know.

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