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Portfolio > Alternative Investments > Private Equity

Event-Driven Manager Increases Active Stakes

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NEW YORK (–Mellon HBV Alternative Strategies LLC, a US$1.1 billion distressed, risk arbitrage and special situations manager, recently bought a controlling stake in The Robbins Company, Attleboro, Mass. This transaction makes Mellon HBV a strong presence in yet another boardroom.

The Robbins Company supplies medals and other objects given to people in recognition of achievement and as an incentive. The company has been around for a century–it even produced the medal honoring Charles Lindbergh’s solo transatlantic flight.

James Jenkins, co-manager of Mellon HBV’s long-only distressed portfolio, said in a statement that this is an exceptional investment, combining unmatched capabilities, clients that include elite companies and a rapidly growing market.

Mellon HBV executives sit on The Robbins Company’s new board, together with private equity manager Signal Equity Partners.

Seitel Inc., Houston, a provider of geophysical data for oil and gas exploration, is another example of the fund’s active plays. Seitel is in bankruptcy, and Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway is a major creditor.

Mellon HBV bought a 10% equity stake last fall and joined other stockholders in opposing Buffet’s offer to take control of the company. A couple of weeks ago Seitel announced a reorganization plan. It completed a bond issue and offered warrants for equity financing.

Mellon HBV launched its control-oriented long-only distressed fund last year. It also runs a trading-based hedged distressed portfolio (seePrevious HedgeWorld Story).

More than one of its funds participate in some of the transactions.

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Contact Robert F. Keane with questions or comments at:

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