And it has ended with the handsome prince, practically perfect in every way, being forced to sell his shares in the company. He tried as hard as he could to change them for the better, but in the end, you can’t help people who won’t help themselves. Read more »
There comes a time in every hedge fund manager’s life when he must admit that he made a mistake. Sometimes that mistake was borrowing money from an investor fund to pay personal taxes. Sometimes that mistake was knocking off that hooker. Sometimes that mistake was thinking investors would be happy to hear that their one dollar at the beginning of the year was now just 17 cents. The point is, they erred in judgment, and while it’s unusual for men of their stature to admit such a thing, on the record or otherwise, they decided to step up and do just that.
For Bill Ackman, yesterday was sort of that day. Read more »
- buy stock in company,
- be annoying,
- sell stock back to company at higher price.
This model had many delights of which perhaps the greatest was that you couldn’t really, like, do damage to your reputation. The more annoying you are: the more the company wants to get rid of you! So the more they’ll pay. And since you’d really only get into this business if you had some natural predisposition to annoyingness, it was a nice way for some people to make a living doing what they loved. Sadly it sort of petered out after the 1980s, though you still see variants on it occasionally.
It’s fun to contrast Bill Ackman’s 2,000-word letter to the J.C. Penney board referencing his previous “several-thousand-word email to the board outlining my concerns about our current trajectory” with Carl Icahn’s 280 characters about Apple. Read more »
Just two-plus weeks after J.C. Penney’s board—of which the Pershing Square Capital Management chief is a member—agreed to take their time to find a replacement for the man he hand-picked for the job, Bill Ackman is getting impatient. It might occur to a lesser man who had picked a candidate he generously described as “very close to a disaster”—most people familiar with Ron Johnson’s J.C. Penney would probably have omitted the first three words—that discretion is be the better part of valor in this case, but Bill is unafraid. He’s made more powerful enemies than the man he obviously sees as the lame duck chairman of a failing retailer that he owns 18% of and whose replacement he has already found. Read more »
Soros Fund Management LLC is withdrawing its money with William Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management due to performance, according to a person close to the matter. Pershing is in the process of returning the money to Soros, less than $250 million, by early 2014, the person said. [Reuters, earlier: "Bill Ackman has filed a complaint with regulators against George Soros’ family fund and unidentified co-conspirators alleging Soros’ firm broke insider-trading rules by tipping hedge funds"]
There are puzzling reports that Bill Ackman has been complaining to the SEC about George Soros’s investment in Herbalife, claiming that “Soros’ firm broke insider-trading rules by tipping hedge funds about its purchases” at “idea meetings.” You might remember Bill Ackman as the man who called a big press conference to tell everyone that he was short Herbalife and they should join him. There was PowerPoint! It was like eight hours long. I suppose some people traded on it though I also suppose they regret it.
So what’s his problem? I do not understand this at all. The allegation of insider trading is particularly weird; as far as I know no one has any obligation to keep their share ownership – or plans to buy more shares – secret. A cynic might say that the business of fundamental equity fund management consists mostly of telling people about your positions, which is why CNBC exists. It’s also why Ackman’s Herbalife drama exists; one irony is that if he had not called that press conference he probably would never have baited Carl Icahn into becoming Herbalife’s biggest proponent. Should have kept it to an idea meeting! Read more »
Bill Ackman Won’t Cover His Herbalife Short Because He’s Fights Like A Spartan, Or Something, Says AdversaryBy Bess Levin
Bob Chapman has theories. Read more »