Gold Co. Swoon Costs Paulson Almost $50 Million

Jul 27 2012 | 11:47am ET

John Paulson can't catch a break. The Paulson & Co. founder has been trying—and, so far, failing—to turn around the performance of his hedge funds. Now, one of his largest holdings has suffered its worst slump in three years, a slump that may have cost Paulson $48.9 million.

NovaGold Resources' stock fell 25% yesterday after Barrick Gold Corp. said that its joint-venture with NovaGold falls short of the its investment criteria. NovaGold has said it plans to continue to develop the venture.

Worse still for Paulson, his 915,000 shares of Barrick suffered a paper loss of almost $1 million yesterday, as well.

Paulson, whose largest fund lost half of its value last year, and who has seen many of his funds post double-digit losses in the first six months of this year, is the very model of a gold bug. He runs a dedicated Gold Fund—down 23% this year—and all of his other hedge funds are available in gold-denominated shares.

Paulson's hedge fund is NovaGold's second-largest shareholder, owning 13% of the company. And it's not Paulson only gold loser: AngloGold Ashanti, the hedge fund's third-largest stock holding at the end of the first quarter, is down 21% this year.

Paulson isn’t alone in suffering over NovaGold: Baupost Group, Blue Ridge Capital and York Capital Management all held stakes in the company.


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