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Let’s just get it right out of the way: Pershing Square Capital Management chief Bill Ackman is probably not pro-pandemic. There are definitely things about the global plague that he does not care for, like having the things he says about on television aired on television and getting yelled at by Stephanie Ruhle for them. Oh, and also the million bodies. We have not reached out for him for confirmation that he’s opposed to the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt there. In fact, we’d even go so far as to state unequivocally that, all things being equal, he wishes COVID-19 had not washed over the globe and made for such a very unpleasant two years.

That being said, there are some things he’s enjoyed about the coronavirus experience. For example, when asking permission to build a spaceship atop an Upper West Side landmark, he had to bear the slings and arrows of his aggrieved neighbors only virtually, rather than in a high school gym or wherever Community Board 7 usually meets to allow the lesser members of the 1% rail against the 0.001%. Oh, and also all the money it’s made him. So, so much money. So much money that he probably thought he’d never better the early ‘rona-trade that turned $27 million into $2.6 billion. But the Ack-man just keeps on winning, variants be damned.

Mr. Ackman assumed the reopening would unleash a flood of consumer spending, sparking inflation not seen for decades and forcing the Fed to intervene…. So he spent $177 million on options tied to Treasury bonds that would pay off if interest rates rose significantly over the next 18 months, according to investor documents and people familiar with the matter. By late March, the investment had more than tripled in value. By the fall, concerns about inflation had gripped Wall Street and the position kept rising….

Pershing Square had started selling its position [before the Fed signaled plans to raise rates in March] and was already out by the time Fed Chairman Jerome Powell took the podium, with $1.25 billion in profits.

Bill Ackman Scored on Pandemic Shutdown and Bounceback [WSJ]


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