The Tampa Bay Lightning's slump may be the least of owner Jeff Vinik's headaches. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that investors in Vinik's hedge fund – a principal source of his wealth – have asked to pull out around $1.5 billion after a period of poor performance. The withdrawal requests, increasingly common among hedge funds, amount to around 18 percent or just under $1 of every $5 invested of the roughly $8 billion that was run by Vinik Asset Management.
According to the Journal, the redemption requests come as Vinik, who rose to fame in the 1990s as the manager of Fidelity Investments' Magellan fund, has added a new investment team and moved from Boston to Tampa to be closer to the Lightning. "The moves have raised concerns in some quarters that Mr. Vinik, 54 years old, may have become less focused on investing, according to people familiar with the firm," the story states. That distraction may also influence Vinik's ongoing negotiations, now seemingly backburnered, to bid for Channelside Bay Plaza, as news of a new potential buyer surfaced last week.
Vinik apologized in a letter to investors for his fund's performance. But he also indicates that his firm's recent performance was temporary, and that he is focused on investing. Vinik, the Journal reports, is looking to raise money from new investors.