William Ackman’s bad year is taking a big toll. The activist hedge-fund manager has seen his firm’s assets under management decline by $1.2 billion from a high point earlier this year, largely due to investment declines, according to people familiar with its operations…At the end of September, Pershing Square’s total assets under management stood at $11.2 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter. That is a $1.2 billion decline from the $12.4 billion that Pershing Square reported it had under management as of March 1 in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission…People with knowledge of the firm said the decline resulted almost completely from weak investment performance, and net redemptions by investors had amounted to less than $150 million so far in 2013. [WSJ]
Bill Ackman Can No Longer Walk Down The Street Without Being Approached By CEOs Who Saw Him Coming, Handed A Pre-Written Resignation Letter, And Told “I Thought I’d Just Make This Easier On The Both Of Us”By Bess Levin
The activist investor William A. Ackman has had a bruising year, but with one investment, Air Products and Chemicals, he now has something to show for his effort. Air Products, a producer of industrial gases, announced on Thursday that it would add three new directors to its board and begin a search for a new chief executive. The changes were supported by Mr. Ackman, whose firm, Pershing Square Capital Management, acquired a 9.8 percent stake in the company this year. [Dealbook]
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 »
- 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"]