Hot Internet Fund May Lose Manager

Ryan Jacob, portfolio manager of the Internet Fund, which has risen 272 percent over the past year, may be leaving now that a deal to sell the fund has fallen through.

One of the fund’s founders, Peter Doyle, told late Monday Jacob wants to take some time to decide what his future role will be.

Kinetics Asset Management, the fund’s current advisor, reached a deal earlier this year to sell the $646 million fund to Lepercq, de Neuflize. However, that deal fell through on Friday. The companies would only say they were unable to come to agreeable terms.

Jacob was to continue managing the fund as an officer of Lepercq had the sale been finalized. Although Jacob’s future with the fund is in doubt, Doyle said no matter what happens, the fund will continue to trade.

The fund was started in 1996 by several Doyle family members and friends, although substantial assets didn’t start rolling in until the fourth quarter of 1998 when returns began to rocket. It was last year’s best performing mutual fund and suddenly was overwhelmed with investor interest. At one point, the fund stopped taking new investors until the number of registered shares were doubled.

While there is an ongoing debate about how much of the fund’s returns can be attributed to Jacob, some who follow the mutual fund industry say if he leaves, millions of dollars may go as well.

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