WSJ Tempts Fate: Pokes The ‘Scorpion’ With Scathing Jeff Gundlach Piece

Boom!

And now we know what Jeff Gundlach has been fuming about for more than two weeks.

You’ll recall that a couple of Saturdays ago, we documented the “Bond King’s” total Twitter meltdown which found Gundlach accusing rivals of bribing reporters to write fake stories about DoubleLine.

For those of you who missed that exceedingly amusing episode, here is that tweet tirade in all its Trump-ish glory:

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Over the course of the next 10 or so days, Gundlach proceeded to drop still more hints about what he imagined was going on, and two Tuesdays ago he gave an interview to Bloomberg that certainly felt like a rather transparent attempt to get out ahead of a negative story he knew was about to run.

On August 10, Gundlach said on Twitter that WSJ was the news outlet he’d been ranting about:

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If you follow our coverage of Jeff, you know that this whole WSJ saga has left Gundlach distraught, because much like Donald Trump, Gundlach considers any news that he doesn’t like to be “fake.”

And the most hilarious thing about the tweets shown above is that Gundlach basically wrote WSJ’s story for them without even realizing it and posted in on social media.

Well anyway, WSJ went ahead and printed their story, despite veiled threats from Jeff that he’s prepared to sue anyone involved using his “big legal team.”

Here are some excerpts:

Jeffrey Gundlach built one of the most successful new bond funds ever, amassing $61.7 billion of assets at the DoubleLine Total Return Bond Fund over just six years.

But during the past year something else happened: Some customers began to leave. Assets under management at the fund dropped 13% from their peak last September to $53.6 billion as of July 31.

Investors have pulled $8.5 billion from the fund in that period, Morningstar Inc. says, while funds in the same category took in net inflows of 7.2%. The fund has had outflows in each of the past nine months. DoubleLine said inflows in the fund for August so far are net $230 million.

As performance has slipped and the fund has shrunk, Mr. Gundlach, 57 years old, has turned combative, taking on the media and continuing to taunt a rival. Meanwhile, some within the firm are bracing for what could be a more challenging environment.

[…]

Mr. Gundlach’s fund’s performance has been solid. But some investors say they are leaving because the fund has cooled from its previously white-hot pace.

Among those bailing are individual investors, who helped fuel the fund’s growth but can be quicker than institutions to pull their funds when performance lags. Barney Rothstein, a retired orthodontist in Tucson, Ariz., withdrew $250,000 from the fund over the past 18 months and shifted the money to individual bonds that carry similar yields but can be held to maturity, unlike a bond fund, potentially giving an investor more cushion if the market turns down. “The extra return wasn’t there anymore,” he said.

[…]

Investors like Castle Financial & Retirement Planning Associates Inc. in Hazlet, N.J., are shifting to Pimco from DoubleLine.

“Performance has been waning,” said Al Procaccino II, president of the firm, which pulled money from the DoubleLine fund this year.

[…]

Mr. Gundlach’s returns at another asset manager, TCW Group Inc., gained him prominence in the early 2000s, but tensions with executives there ended with his ouster and dueling lawsuits. TCW and Mr. Gundlach ultimately settled their legal disputes. Mr. Gundlach sometimes emails TCW executives, taunting them, boasting of his performance and accusing his rival of not playing fair, people familiar with the matter said.

Those emails have continued in recent months, one of the people said. DoubleLine declined to comment.

In the spring, after Mr. Gundlach said media outlets misreported a speech he gave at an investment conference, he opened a Twitter account with the username TruthGundlach and criticized media members, including The Wall Street Journal. In June, after a Twitter user with 56 followers accused Mr. Gundlach of using public pronouncements to boost his fund, he responded by referring to his own standing on a list of industry players. “What number are you on the Bloomberg 50 Most Influential list?” Mr. Gundlach tweeted.

Mr. Gundlach declined to be interviewed. In a tweet this past Thursday, he said, “I’m not ‘combative’. Never attack unprovoked. Never plant competitor hit pieces. But I am a scorpion. Attack me and I will fight back. Hard.”

Now first of all, you should note that WSJ is late with the “scorpion” bit.

Because we were all over that patently ridiculous tweet the minute he decided to post it (click to read):

Scorpion

Indeed, we even suggested someone should go and look in on Jeff to make sure he was’t losing his shit completely:

What you should also take into consideration here is that although our coverage of Gundlach’s ongoing Twitter campaign is of course meant to be funny, the underlying message in every, single one of our posts on Jeff’s tweets is that he is either i) going crazy, ii) trying to paper over something that he doesn’t want people talking about, or most likely iii) a little of both.

Sure enough, the WSJ piece confirms just that and their mention of Gundlach’s Twitter habit and the fact that they flagged him responding to a user with just 56 followers shows that we aren’t the only ones who think his behavior has become exceedingly bizarre.

Oh, and as far as this bit from WSJ goes…

Mr. Gundlach sometimes emails TCW executives, taunting them, boasting of his performance and accusing his rival of not playing fair, people familiar with the matter said.

Those emails have continued in recent months.

Well, what can we say but: Karma’s a bitch, Jeff.

You can expect a furious Jeff to take directly to @TruthGundlach to unleash what is almost sure to be his most hilarious Twitter outburst to date, so do check back later tonight for an update.

Unleash the scorpion….

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