UPDATE: Focus Liquidates Hedge Fund After $800M Loss

Mar 5 2008 | 12:01am ET

Focus Capital, the New York hedge fund battered by losses in its Swiss mid-cap portfolio, was forced to liquidate its portfolio last week after missing margin calls.

The firm told investors yesterday that it would likely close after losing about 80% of its value, or about $800 million, the Financial Times reports. Founders Tim O’Brien and Philippe Bubb blamed “violent short-selling by other market participants,” exacerbated by rumors that the fund was in trouble, for the losses.

In the letter to clients, Focus—which is not related to the British firm of the same name—said the collapse in the value of its investments led its two main banks to force it to sell assets. A spokesman for the firm described it as an “avalanche.”

The fund, which had enjoyed double- and triple-digit returns in its first three years, had lost 8.6% in January. It opened February with some $1 billion in assets.

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