Once upon a time, in a reality that seems almost distant from our own, Bill Ackman could not seem to miss as an investor.
Seriously, you guys, The Ack-Man was bulletproof. He was a golden god of hedge funding, kicking ass and playing tennis. And if you don't believe us, allow an attempt to jog that memory using just two words: Burger King.
Just a few short years ago, Bill Ackman got in early on a reorganized Burger King via a post-reorganization IPO of a company that later combined with Tim Horton's and Popeye's to become a public fast food conglomerate now known as Restaurant Brands. It has famously been one of Ackman's best positions (Fortune recently estimated that over time the Burger King IPO has made the key players about $14 billion) and recently the stock has been on an absolute tear:
So through all of Ackman's myriad recent woes, he could always reflect on Burger King and the $2.5 billion position he'd built there as something that still made him feel like a genius. It could even be argued that Burger King is so emotionally talismanic to Ackman that he jumped into Chipotle during a dark time out of desperate habit.
It would not surprise us if Ackman has someone bring him a Whopper once in a while just so he can smell it and feel a surge of logic-challenged hope.
With all that, you can imagine our surprise when we saw this earlier:
Pershing Square Capital Management, the hedge fund firm managed by Bill Ackman, sold $610 million worth of its stake in Restaurant Brands International through a block trade, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Pershing Square sold 10 million shares of Restaurant Brands on Tuesday night for $61 per share, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing private trading information.
That's right, Bill is pulling at least partially out of his gorgeous legacy Burger King position because...we dunno, maybe he's grown allergic to profits? But if you're gonna dump $610 million worth of something that you still seem to kind of like, a block trade is the way to do it because you want to be subtle and not send up a flare to the market that someone is dumping a shit-ton of Restaurant Brands stock. If you're not careful though (or you do something crazy like involve Credit Suisse), you could end up pulling out the wrong Jenga piece and have to hold your breath as the entire stock gives a terrifying shudder...
After the block trade, Pershing Square still owns about 14 percent of common stock, one of the people said. The block trade, which was completed in two hours, was managed by Credit Suisse, the two people said.
Can you see where everyone heard about the block trade?
But unlike mostly everything else that's happened to him in the last few years, Ackman seems to have gotten away with this. At the close, the stock was holding relatively steady and the Jenga tower was still standing.
Now who's going to tell Bill that it was Carl Icahn in disguise on the other end of that block trade?