Bill Ackman

  • 17 Dec 2014 at 3:35 PM

Bill Ackman Just Can’t Help Himself

ackmanBill Ackman sat in the hair and makeup chair at Bloomberg, waiting for his lieutenants to file in for a quick briefing before he went on the air. He knew what they were going to say and what they needed to hear him say before they’d be comfortable with him getting in front of the camera.

“Now what are you going to do when they ask you about Herbalife, Bill?”

“I’m going to speak about it in a measured tone. I’m going to manage expectations.”

“And why are you going to do that?”

“Because even if it’s true the company is a fraud, it doesn’t mean it’s going out of business tomorrow so we shouldn’t tell people to expect it, even though… [mumbles something about how he knows it will]…”

“What was that?”

“Nothing.”

“Okay, and what are you not going to do?”

“I’m not going to give an exact date in the near future when the company is going to explode.”

“And?”

“And I’m not going to use the word ‘explode’.”

“And?”

“And I’m not going to say ‘If Herbalife doesn’t go out of business in the next 365 days, I’ll give up solid food and subsist only on their shakes and supplements for a calendar year.”

The lieutenants looks at each other and nodded. They weren’t 100% sure they could believe him but this was as close as confirmation as they were going to get. And, to be fair, since the incident in July, he’d kept his promise. His promise to them, sure, but also his promise to himself. It’s not like he liked doing this. It’s not like he wanted to build up expectations re: the demise of Herbalife only to have them fail. But every time he got up on that stage, or in front of a camera, or on the phone with CNBC, something inside him took over and made him blurt out stuff like “Call the coroner, ’cause there’s gonna be a murder tomorrow, of the corporate variety” or “Get all the shakes you can now because in a fortnight, they’re gonna be gone” or “If Herbalife doesn’t go out of business by next week, my name’s not William A. Ackman.”

He wanted to dial down the enthusiasm. He really did. Read more »

Through gritted teeth.The Pershing Square chief is back on for dinner at Marea on Dec. 18, while Valeant Pharmaceuticals will have to settle for about $400 million of his winnings and maybe some other sacrificial lamb-drug company that Ackman might care to throw its way. Read more »

More powerful than...So what if his dream of forcing Allergan to settle for Valeant is very much on the rocks? If the Pershing Square chief has proven nothing else, it is that he will make money no matter what happens during this calendar year. Let Allergan take Actavis’ $60+ billion—Bill Ackman gets 10% of it. And then he can sell the company that his old buddy told him to invest in to Valeant. Read more »

  • 06 Nov 2014 at 3:45 PM

Bill Ackman Doing Alright For Himself This Year

bill_ackman_600x450Herbalife failing to fall off a cliff notwithstanding, the hedge fund manager and his clients have a lot (of money) to smile about. Bonus: it looks like Bill won’t have to bust his ass to find houses to flip in South Florida just yet. Read more »

Bill AckmanIf this hedge fund manager thing doesn’t work out, he’s got a plan B. Also a C, which is star in the first season of HGTV’s, Flip or Flop: Billionaire Edition. It’s pretty obvious Ackman could sell the hell out of a 4 bed, 3.5 bath tudor style house featuring a “spacious open concept living/dining/kitchen area, finished basement and luxurious master suite.” Read more »

He's ba-ack.For more than a year, Herbalife’s biggest booster got his kicks kicking Bill Ackman while he was down, gleefully touting how he had been proven right about the world’s favorite diet shakes time and time again, while the Pershing Square founder had been proven the opposite, also over and over again. But at the beginning of the year, it occurred to Tim Ramey that repeatedly sticking his finger in Bill Ackman’s eye is really no way to live, and that he should try to do something constructive with his life, like corporate consulting.

But as he’s watched Ackman’s hopes get up and then dashed once again, Tim realized it is foolish to deny one’s passions. And so while he’s keeping his office over at Post Holdings, he’s ready to publicly sing the praises of his favorite multi-level marketing company once again, giddily predicting just how much more money Ackman is going to lose. Read more »

Bill AckmanIt’s a burden, really. Read more »

  • 23 Oct 2014 at 4:48 PM

Bill Ackman Is Onto You!

"This guy back stage knows what I'm talking about"The interview began at 2 p.m., and [Jim] Grant went straight after the elephant in the room — the Valeant-Allergan deal. “May I call you Bill, or do you prefer ‘Alpha’?” Grant asked playfully before launching into a series of questions. Before we go any further into this story, you should know that short-seller Jim Chanos, CEO of Kynikos Associates, was sitting in the crowd. Chanos is famously short Valeant. He says it is an accounting rollup that lacks organic growth. Ackman knew Chanos was in the crowd, because during the lunch lecture (about 20 minutes before Ackman’s interview), Chanos asked a question in front of everyone present. Now, back to Ackman’s interview. As Grant asked the same questions about Valeant-Allergan that critics have been asking for months — “Does the company actually make money?” “Does Valeant overpay for its acquisitions?” “Doesn’t it need to spend money on R&D?” — Ackman started to bristle a bit. Suddenly, he turned toward Grant. “Are you short because your daughter is working for Jim Chanos?” he asked pointedly. [BI]