Last year was tough on old Bill Ackman, and this year hasn’t been much better. The stress is taking its toll. In short, Bill Ackman needs a win. He knows this. And not an empty, moral victory like learning a valuable lesson from a $4 billion loss, or a little bit of good news from his favorite food-poisoning chain, or big gains from a company he can’t name that you’ve probably never heard of anyway, or a 4% bump in a fish-stick purveyor, or getting to keep the fees he earned managing Massachusetts pension money. No, he needs something big. Something like making back 7.5% of what he lost on Valeant in one fell swoop. And Steve Schwarzman may be inclined to give it to him with a $4 billion deal for the pesticide-making half of Platform Specialty Products, which Pershing Square owns 14.5% of.
“There is a reasonable possibility a deal happens,” a source said….
In the event of a deal, the debt retirement and stock buyback, shares could jump to near $20, according to a source.
And seeing as how Ackman paid just $13.63 for each of those shares, that would qualify as a big win. This being Ackman, however, that win is tempered by the knowledge that it could have been twice as big.
Ackman’s Pershing Square hedge fund holds a 14.5 percent stake, and has owned a leading stake, once as high as 31 percent, since PSP was formed in 2013.