Ex-M.Stanley, Lehman execs launch hedge fund to bet on Asia M&A

By Nishant Kumar

HONG KONG, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Hong Kong-based Ardon MaroonFund Management, run by former Wall Street bank executives, haslaunched an Asia-focused hedge fund with seed capital from aEuropean family office, a company document showed, aiming toprofit from events such as mergers and restructurings.

The launch comes as Asian funds that focus on mergers andactivities such as spin-offs or bankruptcies, also calledevent-driven funds, have outperformed so far in 2012, rising 5percent on average against the 3.7 percent gain overall forAsian hedge funds, data from industry tracker Eurekahedgeshowed.

Frank Dominick, formerly of Morgan Stanley , andCharles Woo, who worked at Lehman Brothers, have started tradingwith $26.5 million, according to the document which was seen byReuters. They have hired Mirza Rahman as chief operatingofficer.

Rahman earlier held the COO role at Artradis, which was onceSingapore's biggest hedge fund with peak assets of $4.9 billionbut wound up in 2011.

Maroon Capital Asia, the investment vehicle of Europeanfamily office Maroon, has provided seed capital worth $25million to the fund and working capital to support the business.Some former investors, former employers and new investors havemade additional commitments, the document showed.

James O'Hanlon, a former managing director at Bank ofAmerica Corp in Japan, has been hired by Ardon as aportfolio manager, a source with knowledge of the matter said.The firm has seven employees in all.

The Ardon Asia Fund will invest primarily in Hong Kong,China, Korea, Australia, Singapore, and Japan and takesopportunistic bets in India, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesiaand Malaysia.

Event-driven funds trade in stocks, bonds, convertibles andother types of securities. Announced mergers and acquisitionsdeals in Asia-Pacific ex-Japan for the third quarter of 2012amounted to around $136 billion, down about 8 percent from thesame quarter of the previous year, according to preliminary datafrom Thomson Reuters.

Ardon had previously joined hands with New York-based PulseCapital Partners to launch the fund in July last year with Pulseexpected to arrange up to $50 million in initial capital. It wasnot immediately clear what happened to that plan.

Woo declined to comment.

(Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

((nishant.kumar@thomsonreuters.com)(+852 28474064)(ReutersMessaging: nishant.kumar.reuters.com@reuters.net))