Layoffs Watch '16: Pershing Square Cuts Employees, But Not Because Of Performance Or Anything

Don't put this on Herbalife. Or Valeant. Or Brexit.
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2015 was the worst year in hedge fund Pershing Square Capital's history. 2016 has notbeen goingmuch better. But do not point fingers at record-setting losses or positions that necessitate conference calls with investors to explain their performance when looking for someone to blame for the firm's layoffs. Look to the machines.

William Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management LP, which has been battered this year by a slumping portfolio, laid off eight lower-level employees this week, according to people familiar with the matter. The cuts, which largely involve back-office employees in technology and investor services, amount to more than 10% of the activist hedge fund’s staff, the people said. Mr. Ackman told his staff this week that the moves have nothing to do with the poor performance of the hedge fund, the people said. Instead, he said, the firm has gotten better in technology and automating tasks like filling out new-investor forms, reducing the need for employees.

Pershing Square Lays Off Eight Lower-Level Employees [WSJ]


Pershing Square: Herbalife Silenced Us

Earlier today it was noted that, to the surprise of many, Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn had refrained from asking questions or dialing in and making sudden outbursts during this morning's conference call to discuss Herbalife's fourth quarter earnings.  Obviously this came as a shock on account of Ackman and Icahn taking many opportunities in the past to share their feelings re: the company and each other. And while it's true both men personally held their tongue's today, according to Pershing Square, one of its analysts had planned to ask questions on Bill's and the hedge fund's behalf but was shot down.