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Atticus Nets Another Goal

The hedge fund scores again with the Phelps Dodge sale.

Timothy Barakett's

Atticus Capital

scored the Wall Street version of a hat trick when


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took out copper miner

Phelps Dodge

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Freeport's planned $26 billion buyout is the third outsized market bet this year to produce a hefty payoff for the former hockey player turned hedge fund manager.

Barakett's $14 billion hedge fund is Phelps Dodge's largest shareholder, owning just under 10% of the Phoenix-based company. The value of Atticus' 20-million-share stake quickly ballooned to $2.4 billion from $1.9 billion, after Freeport made its $126-a-share bid for Phelps Dodge.

But shrewd megabets are

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nothing new to Barakett and his New York-based fund. This year, Atticus also has profited from large run-ups in shares of the





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-- two other top equity holdings.

Shares of both the NYSE and MasterCard have nearly doubled in their first year of trading. Atticus currently is the largest shareholder of both companies.

Among them, Phelps Dodge, NYSE Holdings and MasterCard account for a little over 30% of the dollar value of New York-based Atticus' stock portfolio, as of Sept. 30. The percentage is probably a bit higher in the wake of the Phelps Dodge buyout proposal.

Atticus didn't comment -- but that's not surprising. Despite its reputation for posting high double-digit returns, Barakett has avoided the media limelight. He's done most of his talking through regulatory filings that agitate for change at some of the companies the hedge fund has taken big equity positions in.

Earlier this year, when Atticus began amassing its Phelps Dodge holdings, Barakett called for a large share buyback. Later, he opposed Phelps Dodge's ill-fated $40 billion three-way merger with Inco and Falconbridge. Finally, last month he called for the mining company's sale.

This strategy has worked well for Atticus. Its main funds are up between 15% and 20% this year through September, sources say.

And with six weeks left in the year, Atticus and Barakett are looking to score a few more points from their other holdings.