Cantillon Capital to Close Hedge Funds

Cantillon Capital Management, a $4.5 billion asset-management firm founded in 2003 by former Lazard Asset Management star, William von Mueffling, will close today its hedge-fund business to focus on traditional investing, according to people familiar with the matter.

From Bloomberg: The firm plans to return money to clients of its $2.7 billion Cantillon World fund and $800 million Cantillon European fund by the end of September…

The firm is offering clients the option of moving into its long-only strategies, which buy securities on the expectation they will rise in value. Von Mueffling, 41,… oversees more than $1 billion in long-only assets…

“There’s more opportunity to take advantage of a market where there’s more upside than downside, especially following the crisis we have seen,” said Amit Shabi, a partner at Geneva- based Bernheim Dreyfus & Co., which invests client money in hedge funds.

Hedge funds have returned about 9.8 percent this year after posting average losses of 19 percent in 2008, the most since Hedge Fund Research Inc. started tracking data in 1990.

Cantillon’s European fund lost 11% in 2008, according to an investor letter.

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