Valiant Capital founder Chris Hansen: Free beer for Seattle arena deal

By Rob Copeland

Wed Sep 12, 2012


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Hedge funder knocks ‘em back in support of potential NBA, NHL venue.


   
  Valiant's Chris Hansen

A Tiger Grand Cub is offering free suds.

Valiant Capital founder Chris Hansen is ready to get Seattle sloshed after reaching an agreement to build a $490 million arena in the city to attract an NBA and NHL team.

"I would personally like to buy you all a beer at FX McRory's this Thursday from 5-7," he wrote to citizens of the Emerald City from his website. "First beer for everyone is on me."

In return for various loan backings and city approvals, the Seattle native personally guaranteed five years of debt payments on the arena. The Seattle Times asked one city council member if there was anything the city wanted, but didn't get from Hansen, and the man responded, "Nothing. We got it all."

The generosity may not be too much of a hardship on Hansen, whose San Francisco firm manages $2.5 billion in hedge fund assets, according to the latest Absolute Return Billion Dollar Club ranking. On Tuesday, he agreed to submit to annual audits showing that his personal net worth is at least $300 million for the life of the arena deal.

Beer at the 35-year-old bar he chose sells for as little as $3.50 per pint.

Valiant has had stunning performance since being founded in 2008. Its flagship Valiant Capital Partners long/short is up 14.26% this year through the end of July, according to an investor, compared with 2.24% gain for the Absolute Return Global Equity Index. Last year Valiant gained 13.06%, also much better than the benchmark.

Hansen worked previously at Tiger Cub John Griffin's Blue Ridge Capital, and is a noted short seller. "You honestly could not make up the stuff we have seen over the course of the last four years," he wrote in his midyear letter to investors citing accounting frauds and companies with fake operations. "The level of deceit our partners have witnessed firsthand has instilled within them a level of skepticism that will serve them well for years to come."

A secretary at Valiant said the firm had no one available to respond to a media inquiry.