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Bill Ackman, Carl Icahn Give Up

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Not on hating each other, of course, or on making money. But in the wake of Uncle Carl's victorious waving of the white flag in his phony proxy war with Apple, r.e.: stock buybacks, his nemesis, after a bit of soul-searching, is calling it a day on his time at the mall. Unlike his last retail capitulation-- ixnay on the jc enney-pay-- Ackman's investors are up to the tune of better than a billion dollars.

Activist investor Bill Ackman, the head of Pershing Square, gave up his efforts in January 2013 to force General Growth to put itself up for sale. The firm agreed to sell its warrants in General Growth at a premium to the company's largest shareholder largest shareholder, Brookfield Asset Management.

General Growth said Monday that it repurchased roughly 27.6 million shares for $20.12 each, a 3.4% discount to Monday's closing price. It also bought back a big chunk of stock from Pershing Square in September….

The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Mr. Ackman said he was backing down partly because the renewed talks between General Growth and Simon went nowhere.

Of course, Carl Icahn does not throw in the towel unless he can issue a triumphant and self-justifying press release to mark the occasion. And, according to some kind of statistical analysis, that's going to be very difficult to do in his tiff with eBay.

Rotary Gallop, which looks at the shareholdings of the activist and of company insiders, concludes Icahn’s odds hover a little below one in three….

Just looking at shareholding, Icahn’s odds of winning are about 29%, according to Rotary. Even if Icahn were to recruit a half-dozen other big hedge-fund shareholders to his cause, boosting his voting bloc to 5.1%, he’d still only have a 38% chance of winning, the firm said.

General Growth Repurchases Pershing Square's Remaining Stake [WSJ]
EBay Also a Big Hurdle for Icahn [WSJ MoneyBeat blog]


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