“How does Bill Ackman do it” is a question the investing community surely asks itself on a daily basis. Three words: Berkshire Mountains hideaway. Outsiders may figure in-depth research combined with skillful and ethical activism and a highly concentrated portfolio are the keys to Pershing Square’s success but, really, a 100-acre spread in upstate New York is the engine that drives this firm.
Specifically, the one found in Chatham, New York, that Ackman “scraped together the money” to buy in 2003, just months before his second act hedge fund launched, to arguably more success than its predecessor, Gotham Partners. Coincidence? Bill doesn’t think so. “This place has really good investing karma,” Ackman tells us. (Since buying the house, Pershing has had 21 percent compound returns. You do the math.) Is this information relevant in any way to your universe? If you’ve got $5 million to spare, a yen for sweeping views of the Berkshire mountains, and a desire to pump up lackluster returns it might be.
Despite spending many a happy (and profitable) weekend at the place over the last nine years, Ackman has with great reluctance and probably more than a few tears decided to put it on the market, having precious little time to make the (quick and painless!) trip up now that his three children have many an extracurricular commitment to tend to. According to Bill, he’s offering you “the deal of a lifetime” (and, in our professional opinions, we agree), when you consider 1) what he bought it for ($3.2 million, then put another $1.5 million in) and 2) what you’re getting. Things like: Read more »