Monday, November 10, 2008

Facebook, Numbers USA?. Sounds familiar to you?

Remember Clarium Capital, the $7 billion hedge fund run by former PayPal CEO Peter Thiel? Oops: Make that the $5.2 billion hedge fund run by Thiel. The fund was down 18 percent in October alone. August was also a disastrous month, as Thiel's bets on the economy went sour. After running up 58 percent from January to June, it's now down 3 percent for the year. Thiel is also an investor in Facebook, but that doesn't seem like much of a hedge right now.
A source within Clarium Capital, Facebook investor Peter Thiel's multibillion-dollar hedge fund, claims that Thiel has just donated $1 million to NumbersUSA, the largest anti-immigration group in the U.S. Not true, we've learned — but Rob Morrow, a principal at Clarium and close Thiel associate, has backed the group with a small donation of $1,000 or less. NumbersUSA likes to position itself as an "immigration reduction" organization; it seeks to roll back legal immigration limits to pre-1965 levels. Morrow's support of the cause is inevitably embarrassing for Thiel.

That's because Thiel, who practically makes a fetish of finding the best talent wherever he can, has benefitted from immigration personally. He was born in Germany, and his tech fortunes are due in large part to the genius of Ukrainian-born programmer Max Levchin, his cofounder at PayPal who is now CEO of Slide.

But Morrow is unlikely to suffer any consequences from his support of the cause. A right-wing intellectual and financial analyst, Morrow, too, has made a lot of money for Thiel. Much of Clarium's breathtaking performance over the years stems from his prescient thinking on the decline of the dollar and the mortgage bubble. Continue reading here:

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