Jeff Vinik tells clients he will close hedge fund

Jeff Vinik told investors in a letter Friday that he plans to shut down his hedge fund and return money it manages for clients by June 30.

Vinik, a former manager of Fidelity Magellan mutual fund, said he wants to devote more time to his ownership of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team and to his family, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Globe. He launched his hedge fund business in 1996.

Vinik recently moved his Vinik Asset Management to Tampa to be closer to the team. His investment performance slipped in the past year, losing 4.8 percent in the 10 months since July 1, while markets have generally risen. Over the long term, he delivered 17 percent annually, on average, to his investors.

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Vinik said in the letter, “while we both love competing with the market day in and day out, it is time for us to take a break.”

Bloomberg News first reported on the letter.

Vinik closed his hedge fund once before, in 2000, when he returned $4.2 billion to clients. But then he grew the business again. Last year, he operated the eighth-largest hedge fund in Boston, with nearly $9 billion in assets.

The letter said that Vinik’s Growth Group portfolio managers—Doug Gordon, Jon Hilsabeck and Don Jabro—expect to start up an independent long-short equities hedge fund based in Boston. They will likely use the Vinik Asset Management space, Vinik said. Other professionals at the firm also may launch new businesses, he said.

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