Whitney Tilson has decided to shut down his hedge fund, saying its poor performance has made him “miserable.”
Tilson — long a fixture on the TV circuit as he has piggybacked on moves by investors like Warren Buffett and David Einhorn — told investors Sunday that he would be closing Kase Capital, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing sources.
The fund was down 8 percent this year, according to the Journal, while the S&P 500 gained 13.7 percent.
“If I were managing only my own money, the fund’s recent results wouldn’t bother me quite so much,” Tilson wrote in a letter to investors.
“But investing and running a money management business are two very different things, and reporting sustained underperformance to you was making me miserable,” Tilson wrote.
Tilson, 50, also noted that the current marketplace created trouble for him. His favorite”safe stocks” such as Berkshire Hathaway and Oreo maker Mondelez are no longer cheap and his favorite “cheap stocks” no longer felt safe.
“Hence, my decision to shut down,” Tilson wrote.
In a separate letter sent to friends he said he is “filled with enthusiasm about what I will do with the second half of my life.”
Tilson said that he might continue investing his own money and that he is also interested in consulting, teaching and serving on corporate boards.
Although Tilson’s fund was small — reportedly managing $50 million, down from a peak of $180 million in 2010 — Tilson was a well-known player in Wall Street and Washington circles.
His short bet on Lumber Liquidators, initiated in 2013, gained mass attention following his 2015 appearance on “60 Minutes” in which he called out the floor-maker for purchasing cheap formaldehyde-tainted laminated flooring from China.
Lumber Liquidator’s stock fell as much as 78 percent in the months after the report and is still down 28 percent.
Last fall, Tilson became an outspoken supporter for Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign.
In a strange moment — despite his vocal support for Clinton — Tilson drew the ire of US Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) who, in critiquing President Donald Trump’s Wall Street friends in December, said: “The next four years are going to be a bonanza for the Whitney Tilsons of the world.”