George Clooney attacks Dan Loeb: "Hedge fund guys do not create jobs, and we do"

By Rob Copeland

Fri Aug 2, 2013

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Two-time "Sexiest Man Alive" rips Sony agitator Dan Loeb as "carpet bagger," says hedge funds have "no conscience at work."


Dan Loeb just got a new bold-faced enemy.

No stranger to high-profile adversaries (see Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang, fellow hedge fund manager Bill Ackman or most recently labor leader Randi Weingarten), the founder of $13.3 billion Third Point picked up a new foe Friday in actor George Clooney. The Oscar-winning actor, director and producer let loose in defense of Sony, the latest target of Loeb's event-driven fund.

"[Loeb] calls himself an activist investor, and I would call him a carpet bagger, and one who is trying to spread a climate of fear that pushes studios to want to make only tent poles," Clooney told trade website Deadline Hollywood. He later added, "It's crazy he has any weight in this conversation at all."

The one-time Batman actor also sharpened his knives for the greater alternatives industry at large, saying "hedge fund guys do not create jobs, and we do."

"How any hedge fund guys can call for responsibility is beyond me, because if you look at these guys, there is no conscience at work. It is a business that is only about creating wealth, where they fail, they get bailed out and where nobody gets fired."

Since May, Loeb has been accumulating stakes in Sony and publicly pushing for a spinoff of its entertainment assets. He made an appearance Thursday on the conglomerate's quarterly earnings call. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Below are some of the more lurid excerpts from Clooney's rant. Full remarks are available at Deadline Hollywood.

I've been reading a lot about Daniel Loeb, a hedge fund guy who describes himself as an activist but who knows nothing about our business, and he is looking to take scalps at Sony because two movies in a row underperformed? Why didn't he include Skyfall, the 007 movie that grossed a billion dollars, or Zero Dark Thirty or Django Unchained?

What [Loeb]'s doing is scaring studios and pushing them to make decisions from a place of fear. Why is he buying stock like crazy if he's down on things? He's trying to manipulate the market…it's crazy he has any weight in this conversation at all.

How any hedge fund guys can call for responsibility is beyond me, because if you look at these guys, there is no conscience at work. It is a business that is only about creating wealth, where they fail, they get bailed out and where nobody gets fired. A guy from a hedge fund is the single least qualified person to be making these kinds of judgments, and he is dangerous to our industry.

Hedge fund guys do not create jobs, and we do.

ISSN: 2151-1845 / CDC10004H


Comments

While Mr. Clooney may know a history of Loeb's activism, his blood type, and the name of his Labrador, he has done very little research about the hedge fund industry. Otherwise he'd know that indeed not one of them received a cent of bailout money.

Jonas Short Aug 14, 2013