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Millennium Shuts Jason Feasey’s Credit Trades After Altice Bets Sour

Millennium Management is liquidating wagers made by credit trading specialist Jason Feasey after his bets on telecom network Altice caused losses at the hedge fund firm. 

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Feasey had built bets on Altice’s vast debt complex, according to people familiar with the matter. The positions swiftly moved against him after the telecom firm told creditors last month they would need to accept haircuts to help it meet leverage targets, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing non-public information.

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He joins a growing list of credit traders getting stopped out at multi-strategy hedge funds that operate with tight risk limits. Such firms often prevent traders from changing their positions and cut their assets once losses reach a certain threshold. 

Feasey managed about $750 million for Millennium with three of his team members, according to two of the people. 

A representative for Millennium, which manages about $62 billion spread across more than 320 teams of traders, declined to comment. Feasey did not respond to a call and message seeking comment. 

Volte Face

Altice founder Patrick Drahi built a telecom empire and racked up $60 billion of debt in the process, making it one of the most significant betting grounds for credit traders as the era of ultra-low interest rates came to a halt. 

The company’s warning to creditors in March was an about-turn from a more conciliatory approach proposed just months earlier, when it had vowed to dispose of assets and buy back debt at fair value. 

The volte face sent bond prices plunging and credit-default swaps dramatically widened, indicating market expectations that those selling protection on Altice bonds could be forced to pay out on those contracts. Anyone selling the contracts would have been making a wager that the company could fully take out billions of euros of debt those specific swaps insured.

One first lien note due in 2027 fell from trading at nearly 70 cents on the euro to less than 30 cents on the euro in the space of a week, a huge swing in the world of corporate debt.

Altice France SA is one of a number of highly-levered European companies stirring volatility in the credit markets this year. Bonds issued by Intrum AB, a Swedish debt collector, plunged after it hired advisers to overhaul its €5.4 billion debt pile. French tech firm Atos SE has seen the value of some of its bonds cut in half since the start of the year, as it looks to reduce its debts. 

Money manager Feasey is one of the best-known traders of credit derivatives in Europe and previously managed money for Chris Rokos, Michael Platt’s BlueCrest Capital Management and Brevan Howard Asset Management.

Millennium’s hedge fund gained 3.7% during the first quarter, Bloomberg has reported.

With assistance from Laura Benitez and Lucca de Paoli.

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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