How a Johnson & Johnson Corporate Jet Had Hedge Funds Betting Big on an Actelion Deal

Burned by failed deals, poor returns and client withdrawals, hedge fund managers needed a home run.

With each passing day last week, as a Johnson & Johnson corporate jet remained mostly parked a short drive from Actelion Ltd. headquarters near Basel, Switzerland, they grew increasingly confident of a big score, according to hedge fund managers betting on the deal who tracked the plane’s movements on the Internet.

They struck paydirt Thursday when J&J agreed to buy Actelion for $30 billion, sending the drugmaker’s shares soaring almost 20 percent -- 44 percent the past six weeks. Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC had built a stake worth about 767 million Swiss francs ($766 million), according to a filing on Dec. 24. Eton Park Capital Management’s bet was almost $500 million and Elliott Management Corp.’s $200 million, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Spokesmen for Och-Ziff, Eton Park and Elliott declined to comment.

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