Elliott Management, the nation’s leading Republican-donor hedge fund and avowed enemy of journalists who dare to contemplate publishing its documents, today dropped its court motion against hedge fund trade magazine AR: Absolute Return + Alpha. AR itself has the story.
On August 19, Elliott had petitioned the New York State Supreme Court to get AR to name the source that leaked its June 30 letter to investors. Elliott claimed that publication of the letter, which contained information about the fund’s positions, would significantly hamper its ability to compete with other market players. The story got picked up by the New York Post and other media outlets, causing a general outcry among journalists and some not-inconsiderable First Amendment sabre-rattling.
Following the Elliott withdrawal, a feeling of righteous indignation is apparently coursing through the magazine’s offices. Says AR editor Michelle Celarier, “This was a blatant attempt to bully us and it backfired. I hope this is a lesson for those who seek disclosure of confidential information from reporters. While trying to intimidate us into not publishing the story, Elliott did a disservice to itself.”
In an affidavit that AR would have filed had Elliott not dropped the matter, Celarier wrote, “Our economy, our educational institutions and our retirements are best served by a financial media that is independent of financial pressure or coercion.”
AR‘s reporting also suggests that its editors had already decided Elliott’s case had no merits. A story on the hedge fund has already appeared on its website, and a print version has already been mailed out to subscribers.