It's hardly a secret that we're rooting for Bill Ackman to turn it around in 2017. After all, even we stopped being able to enjoy how bad things got for the Ack-Man in 2016, and what with the whole Valeant thing finally collapsing and him not even being able to enjoy tennis, it's just gotten sad.
But, as Julian Robertson used to say, it is always darkest before the dawn. And for Bill Ackman the dawn looks like rock-hard cylinders of flash-fried frozen fish.
If you held a stake in Nomad Foods Ltd seven months ago, your investment would have been losing more money than any other consumer staple company in Europe.
Today, the Feltham, U.K.-based frozen food-focused investment vehicle backed by Bill Ackman boasts a 12-month return of more than double the average of its European peers’, and has outperformed the U.S. market by around 10 percent since the start of 2017.
Nomad’s best-known brand in Britain is Birds Eye, the maker of breaded rectangular cod portions known as fish fingers, and sales in the childhood dinner favorite are thriving.
So break out the tartar sauce hose at Pershing Square Capital, kids, and let's get gross. Happy days are here again!
“Eighteen fish fingers are eaten every second across the U.K.,” a spokesman for Birds Eye said, adding that the product has seen a 7 percent sales growth over the last year.
That increase has coincided with a rising number of British pubs listing fish fingers on their menus, usually served smothered in tartar sauce and wedged between slices of bread. The trend has been attributed to a combination of gentrification and a demand for infancy nostalgia.
No longer is Bill Ackman the Prince of Pain, he hath been reborn as the King of Fish Fingers!
Nomad, set-up by hedge fund manager Noam Gottesman and Jarden Corp co-founder Martin Franklin, sold shares on the London Stock Exchange in April 2014 before switching its listing to New York just under two years later. Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square currently has an 18.3 percent holding, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Nomad now has a 14 percent share of the entire Western European frozen food market, excluding ice cream.
That sound you hear is Carl Icahn researching how to destroy all marine life in the North Atlantic.