Have we mentioned that the last few years have been difficult for Bill Ackman?
ADP, Valeant, Chipotle and - oh the grandaddy of them all - Herbalife. Bill's been wrong about all of them, in different ways sure, but wrong all the same. And Bill has been so wrong that he has come to greet pain as the primary emotion of his life, decided to move office to the Far West Side, gone monkish, cut fees again, and been forced to announce large layoffs by Pershing Square standards. Now we know that the cuts to The Ack-Man's ego run even deeper:
Pershing Square said in a presentation Monday that total assets under management fell to $8.77 billion at the end of 2017, down from about $11 billion at the same point in 2016 and $18.3 billion in 2015. The fund’s net loss trailed the broader hedge fund industry, which returned 6.5 percent on average on an asset-weighted basis in the best annual performance since 2013, according to a Hedge Fund Research report this month.
So, yeah, shit it getting real at Pershing Square Capital these days. Those left to face the uncertain dawn of a new day will be doing so with a cloistered leader and way less money to play around with, and that's not even factoring in the permanently looming threat of Alpha predator Carl Icahn. Taking in PSQ's whole situation as a whole, it's easy to hear Whitney Tilson's disembodied voice saying "Get out the game, homie."
But like any sane, clear-headed, data-driven investor, Bill Ackman is just one hot stock pick away from making it all back. He's gone back to crunching the numbers, building the algos, shaking the magic 8-Balls, seeing the value that others don't, and he's reportedly found the stock that will save him from this queso and supplement-flavored misery...
Billionaire investor William Ackman said on Thursday that his hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management made a new bet on sportswear company Nike last year that has already earned his portfolio a roughly 30 percent return.
So, Nike can now begin the process of being a Bill Ackman investment. There will be attempts to take part in decision-making (more Roger Federer, less basketball!), an initial jump in stock price followed by a long, slow fade, a campaign to take some board seats that will devolve into bickering on Cheddar and eventually Bill will be hawking "Special editiong Chipotle Queso-flavored Air Force 1s" on a bizarre episode of "Halftime Report" (The Najarians will buy five pairs each, Josh Brown will cry a single tear in remembrance of what Ackman once was)...
Wait, hold on...there will be none of this. Because Bill Ackman is silent now.
The bet on Nike is unusual in that Ackman has no plans to push the company’s management to make changes, leaving it as one of his few “passive investments.”
Well, not boring for Nike, because the cold fear of the unknown is never dull. The only thing more terrifying than a cornered and desperate Bill Ackman is a cornered, desperate and silent Bill Ackman. It's like a horror movie where the monsters wear masks with rigid smiles and never speak as they terrorize the family in their home, causing the victims to scream "WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM US?!?!" before they're viciously stabbed to death in the kitchen.
But, yeah, nice return so far...