Bill Ackman

Bill Ackman

Last Update: 02-05-2016

Number of Stocks: 8
Number of New Stocks: 1

Total Value: $13,950 Mil
Q/Q Turnover: 13%

Countries: USA
Details: Top Buys | Top Sales | Top Holdings  Embed:

Bill Ackman Watch

  • So, Bill Ackman Makes Some Good Points on the Index Bubble…

    Bill Ackman - So, Bill Ackman Makes Some Good Points On The Index Bubble…

    He’s often controversial, and usually pretty brash. But Pershing Square’s Bill Ackman is also usually quite insightful. He’s been at this game a long time, and he’s had his share of big wins, and big losses. Ackman has an ego on him. (What hedge fund manager doesn’t?) But he’s also his own biggest critics, and like all good investors he learns from his mistakes.

    Today, let’s take a look at Ackman’s latest letter to investors, which came out last week. Ackman, like a lot of hedgies, had a terrible 2015. Here were some of his takeaways:


  • Valeant's Share Price Continues to Decline

    Bill Ackman, John Paulson, Ken Fisher - Valeant's Share Price Continues To Decline

    Valeant Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NYSE:VRX), one of the best specialty drugmakers, has been trading down since September 2015 when the last rally was seen. Since then, the stock plunged to less than half of its value.


  • Bill Ackman’s Fund Falls by Double Digits Again in January

    Bill Ackman - Bill Ackman’s Fund Falls By Double Digits Again In January

    The 12 positions in Bill Ackman (Trades, Portfolio)’s portfolio at his hedge fund Pershing Square Holdings declined a further 11.1% in 2016, extending his dismal 20% drop last year.

    Ackman’s pain worsened in January as even the three positions that ended the year on a positive note – Zoetis (NYSE:ZTS), Mondelez (NASDAQ:MDLZ) and Allergan (NYSE:AGN) – declined in the new year. Ackman’s losses were led by his second smallest position at 3.9% of his portfolio, Platform Specialty Products Corp. The company’s shares lost 42% of their market value in January alone and closed at $7.01 per share Tuesday, compared to Ackman’s average purchase price of $19 per share.


  • Bill Ackman Comments on Canadian Pacific

    Many of the investment opportunities we have identified over time have been created by the fact that the market appears to value companies based principally on short-term factors rather than long-term changes in intrinsic value. For example, in light of China weakness, commodity price declines, and the events in the U.S. energy markets, current earnings and future expectations for railroad volumes have declined somewhat. We believe that this has reduced Canadian Pacific (NYSE:CP)’s intrinsic value by perhaps 10% or so while its stock price has declined ~35% from its August 2015 high. The value of a business is determined by the present value of the cash it generates over its lifetime, not based on what next year’s earnings are going to be. While the first year’s cash flows in a discounted cash flow valuation carry the most weight in the calculation, years two through 20 and thereafter contribute many multiples of year one’s value in determining the present value. This fact seems to be ignored by investors in today’s markets. The market’s short-term valuation approach coupled with the technical factors present in non-index supported companies can lead to short-term gross under-valuations and new long-term investment opportunities.

    From Bill Ackman (Trades, Portfolio)'s Pershing Square Annual Investor Letter 2015.  

  • Bill Ackman Comments on Mondelez

    As a result of relative stock price movements in our portfolio, Mondelez (NASDAQ:MDLZ) became a disproportionately large position in the funds, and Valeant became a smaller and, in our view, even more attractive investment. At year end, while we believed Mondelez was trading at a significant discount to intrinsic value, we reduced our stake in Mondelez through the sale of forward contracts representing 15 million shares at an average price of ~$44 per share, reducing our total ownership in stock and derivatives to ~105 million shares. We redeployed some of this capital by increasing our investment in Valeant through the net purchase of option contracts on the company, which we discussed in detail in our third quarter letter. We continue to be highly optimistic about the potential for Mondelez as it improves its operational efficiency and continues to grow while remaining an attractive merger candidate, and therefore, we expect to remain a substantial, long-term holder. While we are long-term investors, we always seek to optimize the risk/return profile of the portfolio by changing the weightings of existing holdings and comparing portfolio holdings with new investment opportunities, making adjustments and wholesale changes when appropriate.

    From Bill Ackman (Trades, Portfolio)'s Pershing Square Annual Investor Letter 2015.  

  • Bill Ackman Comments on Platform Specialty Products

    Our most glaring, albeit small, unforced error was buying additional stock in Platform Specialty Products (NYSE:PAH) at $25 per share to assist the company in financing an acquisition. We paid too much as we assumed the new transaction would create substantial value, and because we assigned too much platform value to the company. Our assessment was incorrect as execution difficulties, operating issues, currency effects, and financing issues have destroyed rather than created value.

    From Bill Ackman (Trades, Portfolio)'s Pershing Square Annual Investor Letter 2015.  

  • Bill Ackman Comments on Canadian Pacific

    We made a similar error in not trimming our Canadian Pacific (NYSE:CP) position when it reached ~C$240 per share. While we still believed CP was trading at a discount to intrinsic value at that price and there was the potential for CP to complete an industry-transforming, value-creating merger, in light of the size of the position as a percentage of the portfolio, and concerns we had about the Chinese economy, it would have been prudent to sell a portion of our investment.

    From Bill Ackman (Trades, Portfolio)'s Pershing Square Annual Investor Letter 2015.  

  • Bill Ackman Comments on Valeant

    When we purchased Valeant at an average price of $196, we bought the company at a modest discount to intrinsic value as represented by the company’s existing portfolio of products and businesses, but at a very substantial discount to fair value in light of its acquisition track record, the large number of potential targets, and its competitive advantages which include its low-cost operating model and favorable tax structure. When the stock price rose this summer to the mid-$200s per share, we did not sell as we believed it was probable the company would likely complete additional transactions that would meaningfully increase intrinsic value. In retrospect, this was a very costly mistake.

    Our failure to sell stock wasn’t entirely an unforced error as we found ourselves largely restricted from trading during this period. During the summer, we were made aware of a large potential transaction that Valeant was working on, and as a result, we were restricted from trading at a time when it would have been prudent to take some money off the table. In retrospect, in light of Valeant (NYSE:VRX)’s leverage and the regulatory and political sensitivity of its underlying business, we should have avoided becoming restricted to preserve trading flexibility, or alternatively, we should have made a smaller initial investment in the company.


  • Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Annual Investor Letter

    Bill Ackman - Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Annual Investor Letter

    2015 is a year we will not forget. There was no financial crisis except perhaps in the energy, commodity, and currency markets.1 There were no major new wars except for the rise of ISIS and growing global terrorism. The global economy has shown signs of weakness, most notably in China, but U.S. core growth appears sound. The substantial majority of our portfolio companies made continued business progress despite currency headwinds and a weakening global economic environment. Yet, the Pershing Square funds suffered their greatest peak-to-trough decline and worst annual performance ever. What happened?

    Mistakes and Lessons Learned in 2015


  • Share Your Year-End Performance, Best Picks for 2016

    Carl Icahn, Bill Ackman, Ken Fisher, Frank Sands - Share Your Year-End Performance, Best Picks For 2016 It’s a new year and we’re interested in hearing how GuruFocus members fared in 2015, a rather tough year for the market. What were your best holdings, which stocks were your largest detractors and what is your best idea for 2016? Share your picks in the comments area below.

    The gurus posted performances all across the spectrum. Carl Icahn (Trades, Portfolio), who was recently voted Guru of the Year by a landslide, had a busy 2015 with a multitude of activist moves involving companies like AIG (NYSE:AIG), Pep Boys (NYSE:PBY) and Cheniere Energy (LNG). Despite being down 2.8% through the third quarter, Icahn’s fund is still outperforming the S&P 500, which declined 8% over the same time frame.  

  • Bill Ackman Slashes Stake in Valeant Pharmaceuticals

    Bill Ackman - Bill Ackman Slashes Stake In Valeant Pharmaceuticals

    Bill Ackman (Trades, Portfolio) made his second fourth-quarter transaction involving Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (NYSE:VRX) on the next-to-last day of the quarter. Ackman sold 5,027,429 shares – nearly 15% of his stake – on Dec. 30, 2015, for an average price of $102.33 per share.

    The sale had a -3.69% impact on Ackman’s portfolio and left him with more than 29 million shares in his portfolio.


  • 2 Stocks Super Investors Are Buying in Large Quantities

    Warren Buffett, Bill Ackman, Scott Black, George S - 2 Stocks Super Investors Are Buying In Large Quantities

    GuruFocus provides tools and screens to look at 13-F filings in the aggregate and discover lots of information about the famous gurus of value investing. I used the aggregated portfolio tool to sort guru holdings on combined weighting percentage. Basically it shows us which stocks value investment gurus have allocated the most funds to.

    Since J. L. Kelly Jr. gave us the Kelly criterion in 1956, we know that means these are the highest conviction picks of these super investors. This is not quite true, however, because there are a few things messing up that logic. First, the U.S. tax code and long term capital gains tax and some stocks have multiple securities listed under different names.


  • Bill Ackman's 3rd Quarter Letter to Pershing Square Shareholders

    Bill Ackman - Bill Ackman's 3rd Quarter Letter To Pershing Square Shareholders

    Dear Shareholder:


  • Ackman, Sequoia Stock Valeant Changes Course

    Bill Ackman - Ackman, Sequoia Stock Valeant Changes Course

    A pharmaceutical company fueling most of its rapid growth through acquisitions, Valeant (NYSE:VRX) responded to a short-seller’s accusations this week by announcing a change of business model at its 2015 Investor Day.

    Valeant, which resides in large quantities in the portfolios of major investors like Bill Ackman (Trades, Portfolio) and Sequoia Fund, endured criticism for its unconventional partnership with a specialty pharmacy distribution channel, Philidor, in November. The report, done by Citron Research, had crushed about half of the company’s market value by the end of October. Now, the company says it has cut ties with Philidor, started a relationship with Walgreens (NASDAQ:WBA) and significantly reduced its 2015 earnings forecast.


  • Bill Ackman Comments on Herbalife Short

    Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) Short

    Our thesis on HLF remains unchanged. We believe that Herbalife will ultimately be subject to regulatory action or will collapse because of fundamental deterioration in its business which relies on the continual recruitment of new victims. During the quarter, the potential for regulatory action increased while business fundamentals deteriorated.


  • Bill Ackman Comments on Fannie Mae (FNMA) / Freddie Mac (FMCC)

    Fannie Mae (FNMA) / Freddie Mac (FMCC)

    The GSEs’ continue to show healthy underlying trends in their core guarantee business, which have been obscured by non-cash, accounting-based derivative losses in the GSEs’ non-core investment portfolio. Changes in the value of the derivatives create enormous volatility in the GSEs’ GAAP quarterly earnings, even though they do not have an impact on economic earnings or intrinsic value. Because the net worth sweep does not allow the GSEs to retain capital, it is likely that future accounting -based derivative losses could cause the GSEs to borrow additional funds from Treasury despite having no economic need to do so. This is yet another example of why the Net Worth Sweep is problematic.


  • Bill Ackman Comments on Nomad Foods Ltd.

    Nomad Foods Ltd. (NHL)

    Nomad’s underlying frozen food business exhibited challenges during the quarter. Market-based pressures from the growth of discount grocers and private label, coupled with execution issues, have caused softness in Nomad’s Iglo frozen food business. Like-for-like sales have declined


  • Bill Ackman Comments on Platform Specialty Products

    Platform Specialty Products (NYSE:PAH)

    During the third quarter, PAH’s share price declined 51%. While there were several developments at the company which contributed to the decline in the share price, many companies that have been highly acquisitive or compete in the agricultural chemicals industry also experienced significant share price declines during the quarter. For example, highly acquisitive companies such as XPO Logistics, Altice, and Colfax each exhibited share price declines of between 35% and 47% during the quarter, and the share price of FMC, PAH’s closest agricultural peer, declined 35% during the same period.


  • Bill Ackman Comments on Restaurant Brands International

    Restaurant Brands International (NYSE:QSR)

    QSR delivered another strong quarter of earnings, consistent with our belief that the company will produce a high rate of earnings growth over the coming years. QSR continues to deliver strong improvement in Burger King (BKW) U.S. same-store sales (SSS) growth. This quarter SSS grew 5% which is at the top of the QSR industry once again. This is also QSR’s eighth consecutive quarter of positive comps. New product innovations, improved service, and the increasingly remodeled store footprint are contributing to increased growth.


  • Bill Ackman Comments on Howard Hughes Corp

    Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE:HHC)

    As a developer/owner of major real estate projects and master planned communities, HHC is inherently a long-term investment proposition. The company continues to make material progress completing its developments, launching new projects, selling condominiums and residential lots, and leasing space to office and retail tenants and apartment renters. This is driving substantial increases in the company’s net operating income, recurring cash flows, and intrinsic value.


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User Comments

ReplyMyGift - 3 weeks ago
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ReplyTzoulia - 1 month ago
Just want to post a big bouquet to mr Ackman for shorting herbalife. He is absolutely correct that this is a pyramid scheme. What astonishes me is that no-one in the US is enforcing the law, which states that pyramid schemes are illegal. I can only guess that if all the pyramid schemes in the US wee shut down, including Amway, which I researched in detail, the dow jones would crash.
ReplyDanielAnthony - 3 months ago
the article is really the best on this notable topic. Noteworthy one to read it!
ReplyCulpel - 3 months ago
ReplyRgoshen - 7 months ago
I thought Bill Ackman (Trades, Portfolio) owned FNMA?
ReplyGm1 - 1 year ago
Dear Sirs / Madams,

I am so interested in Pershing Square, would you please advise me its performance and cost? Thank you.

ReplySamchell@yahoo - 1 year ago
Some stocks are best evaluated by hands-on personal empiricism. After going into a Walgreen's store, it's manifestly clear where it ranks compared to CVS or Rite Aid. As for Ackman's attraction to Mondelez, perhaps he likes some of the company's snack items, and no doubt enough other consumers will share his taste to move the stock in a positive direction. But anyone looking for more something more dramatic would be better advised to take note of the population's compulsive consumption of Hershey products. (Twizzler's Twist 'n Pull Cherry Licorice is candy heroin.) Also, like Coke and Kleenex, Hershey's is a brand name that's synonymous with the product. (When's the last time your spouse asked you to go to Walgreen's to pick up a "Mondelez Bar"?) In short, investing is a game of guessing, supported by past predilections and indicators that "may" have a bearing on future results. But 50% of stock picking is playing hunches. Never ignore the intangibles as well as personal impressions--that's can't be charted or measured by most systems.

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