Tiger Management

, once the hedge fund king of the hill, is shutting down, according to press reports and one former employee.


reported that Tiger would liquidate its main fund, called the

Jaguar Fund

, while


cited investors who said the entire fund group would close.

"I'm confident there will be an announcement made Friday," one former Tiger employee who requested anonymity told


. "I do believe it will be the plan to close Tiger Management."

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A Tiger spokesman declined to comment.

Tiger, which once posted stellar returns and attracted the brightest minds in money management, has stumbled badly over the past year under the leadership of Julian Robertson, a Salisbury, N.C., native who founded the firm in 1980. Its returns over the past two years have fallen into negative territory while redemptions have mounted. Tiger's assets have fallen to just over $6 billion from $22 billion in mid-1998.

Meanwhile, the very same stars that it attracted have

walked out the door.

Tiger suffered in part because it picked value-oriented stocks such as

US Airways

( U) and

Federal Mogul

(FMO) - Get Report

, both of which have suffered.

One executive at a New York fund-of-funds operation, which invests in hedge funds for investors, says people now are watching to see whether the firm will sell stock to raise cash to meet a wave of redemptions. "They're going to get all these redemptions, so they're looking for a way to give in-kind payouts" without dumping stock, the executive said.