Pershing Square

  • 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 »

herbalife shakesThe conflict being that the buddies have fled to Poland and don’t plan to return any time soon. 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 »

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]

Hedge fund mogul Bill Ackman has raised a record $2.7 billion for his hedge fund IPO that will start trading on the Amsterdam stock exchange later this month. Ackman set out to raise $2 billion, but the deal’s underwriters told their clients Tuesday night that the IPO was oversubscribed and to expect the size of their orders to be scaled back. The offering is expected to hit $3.07 billion, once the “green shoe” overallotment of 10 percent is exercised. Pershing Square Holdings — the offshore fund that is going public on Oct. 13 — will start with $6.2 billion, the largest such IPO ever…The IPO will give him more firepower to take on activist campaigns because Pershing Square’s permanent capital will be equal to almost half its total. [NYP]

  • 30 Sep 2014 at 4:38 PM

SEC Charges Guy With Being Very Bad Roommate

10. Leaves dishes in the sink.
9. Fills DVR with Diners, Drive Ins and Dives and “Save All Episodes” option
8. Brings back strange men he/she met on the corner 5 minutes earlier.
7. Is late with the rent.
6. Eats your food.
5. Leaves Post-it notes on the bathroom mirror that read “Should I deduct $0.75 from your portion of the rent for the shampoo you used this morning?”
4. Repeatedly asks you if your girlfriend is single.
3. Invites the cast of Stomp over for a nightcap when you’ve got a big presentation in the morning.
2. Tells your mother she looks great and asks if she’s had work done since she last visited.
1. Trades on material non-public information you mentioned in passing and in confidence. Read more »