Pershing Square Capital Management

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Pershing Square Capital Management
Industry Hedge funds
Founded 2004
Founder Bill Ackman
Headquarters 888 7th Avenue, NYC
Total assets $13.95 billion (December 2015)[1]

Pershing Square Capital Management is an American hedge fund management company founded and run by Bill Ackman located at 888 7th Avenue in New York.[2][3][4][5]

Company history[edit]

In 2004, with $54 million in funding from his personal funds and from his former business partner Leucadia National, Ackman started Pershing Square Capital Management.[6]

Ackman is known to occasionally hire people outside of traditional finance backgrounds; for instance, his professionals have included a former fly fishing guide, a former tennis pro and "a man whom he met in a cab."[7]

Investment history[edit]

Pershing has launched activist campaigns against McDonald's Wendy's.[4][5]

In 2005, Pershing bought a significant share in fast food chain Wendy's International and successfully pressured them to sell its Tim Horton's doughnut chain. Wendy's spun off the Canadian restaurant donut chain through an IPO in 2006 and raised $670 million for Wendy's investors. After Ackman sold his shares at a substantial profit after a dispute over executive succession, the stock price collapsed, raising criticism that the sale of Wendy's fastest growing unit left the company in a weaker market position.[6] Ackman blamed the poor performance on their new CEO.[6]

In December 2007, his funds owned a 10% stake in Target Corporation, valued at $4.2 billion[8] through the purchase of stock and derivatives.[9] His funds now own a 7.8% stake.[10] In December 2010, his funds held a 38% stake in Borders Group and on December 6, 2010, Ackman indicated he would finance a buyout of Barnes & Noble for US$900M.[11]

On January 9, 2009, the fund disclosed a 7.4% ownership stake in General Growth Properties (GGP) according to documents filed with the SEC,[12] becoming the second-largest shareholder behind Brookfield Asset Management. The fund was betting on the company to go bankrupt in a way that would leave its shareholders intact.[13] In November 2010, Pershing Square helped the company emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[14] As of August 2012 the fund holds beneficial ownership of 7.7 percent of General Growth's stock.[15]

In 2010, Pershing Square reported having taken large ownership stakes in JC Penney and Canadian Pacific Railway.[16]

In July 2012, Ackman acknowledged to CNBC that he had acquired shares in Procter & Gamble worth approximately $1.8 billion, a 1% stake in the company, with the idea of taking an activist role within the corporation. Pershing Square later reduced its stake in Procter & Gamble, which was valued at around $60 million by the end of 2013.[17]


In December 2012, Ackman announced that the firm had made a $1 billion short bet against Herbalife, a maker of weight-loss and vitamin supplements, calling the company a "pyramid scheme".[18] After activist billionaire investor Carl Icahn bought a stake in the company in January 2013, the share price rose nearly 13% and the investment was seen by analysts as the worst investment ever made by the firm.[19] After a persistent political and grassroots campaign funded by Ackman and the firm,[20][21] the Federal Trade Commission initiated a civil investigation into Herbalife, causing its stock to drop enough that by March 2014 Pershing Square was nearly even on their bet.[19] In April 2014, Reuters reported that, according to its sources, the FBI is conducting a probe into Herbalife; agents are also reviewing documents obtained from the company's former distributors.[22]

Platform Specialty Products Corporation[edit]

As of June 2014, Pershing Square is the largest institutional holder of the shares of Platform Specialty Products Corporation (NYSEPAH), owning a 24.28% stake.[23] Pershing first disclosed the position in January 2014,[24] shortly after Platform debuted on the New York Stock Exchange.[25][26][27] Subsequently, in April 2014, Platform announced a deal to acquire the agrochemicals business of Chemtura for approximately $1 billion.[28] Agriphar, another agricultural specialty chemicals company, agreed in August 2014 to become the third company to join the Platform umbrella.[29]

In April 2014, Ackman singled out Platform Specialty Products in "The Outsider" presentation[30] which discusses optimal methods of capital allocation.[31][32][33]


  1. ^ Vincent, John. "Tracking Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Portfolio - Q3 2015 Update". Hedgemind. Retrieved 5 December 2015. 
  2. ^ Markus Krebsz (15 June 2011). Securitisation and Structured Finance Post Credit Crunch: A Best Practice Deal Lifecycle Guide. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 83–. ISBN 978-0-470-71391-4. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Joseph A. McCahery; Erik P. M. Vermeulen (19 November 2010). Corporate Governance of Non-Listed Companies. Oxford University Press US. pp. 178–. ISBN 978-0-19-959638-6. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Philip Coggan (9 November 2010). Guide to Hedge Funds: What They Are, What They Do, Their Risks, Their Advantages. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 49–. ISBN 978-0-470-92655-0. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  5. ^ a b David Stowell (16 February 2010). An Introduction to Investment Banks, Hedge Funds, and Private Equity: The New Paradigm. Academic Press. pp. 49–. ISBN 978-0-12-374503-3. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c Minneapolis Star Tribune: "William Ackman - Targeting Target" by CHRIS SERRES January 13, 2008
  7. ^ "From Hedge Funds to Bonefishing," Forbes, July 16, 2012
  8. ^ "Ackman Boosts Target State". Bloomberg. 24 December 2007. 
  9. ^ Andrew Bary (26 May 2009). "Ackman's Target Campaign Is Off-Target". 
  10. ^ "Ackman loses in Target proxy contest". Reuters. 28 May 2009. 
  11. ^ Jarzemsky, Matt. "UPDATE: Ackman Offers To Finance Borders Buyout Of Barnes & Noble" The Wall Street Journal, December 6, 2010.
  12. ^ Pershing Square (Bill Ackman) Files 13D on General Growth Properties (GGP)
  13. ^ TraderMark (14 January 2009). "The Logic Behind Bill Ackman's Purchase of General Growth Properties". Seeking Alpha. 
  14. ^ "General Growth cleared to exit bankruptcy". Reuters. 22 October 2010. 
  15. ^ Pershing Square Urges Shareholders To Consider Sale Of General Growth Properties
  16. ^ Forbes. 15 June 2012  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ Benoit, David (14 February 2014). "7:27 pm Feb 14, 2014 HEDGE FUNDS Pershing Square Slashes Procter & Gamble Stake". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  18. ^ Stevenson, Alexandra (11 March 2014). "Herbalife Shares Fall as Ackman Makes New Accusations". New York Times. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  19. ^ a b Stanford, Duane (24 March 2014). "Herbalife Strengthens Ties With Icahn as Ackman War Rages". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  20. ^ Schmidt, Michael S. (9 March 2014). "After Big Bet, Hedge Fund Pulls the Levers of Power". New York Times. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  21. ^ "Ackman vs. Herbalife, a History". New York Times. 10 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  22. ^ "FBI conducting a probe into Herbalife: sources". April 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  23. ^ "PAH Major Holders". Yahoo Finance. 30 June 2014. 
  24. ^ "Why Pershing Initiates Position in Platform Specialty Products". Yahoo Finance. 19 May 2014. 
  25. ^ "Pershing Square Discloses Platform Specialty Products Stake". Market Folly. 27 January 2014. 
  26. ^ "Bill Ackman Announces 30.9% Stake in Platform Specialty Products". 27 January 2014. 
  27. ^ "Platform Lists on NYSE After MacDermid Deal, Pershing Stake". TheStreet. 25 January 2014. 
  28. ^ "Ackman-Backed Platform to Buy Chemtura Unit for $1 Billion". Bloomberg Businessweek. 17 April 2014. 
  29. ^ "Ackman Going Public, Should Mega Cap Stocks Worry?". ValueWalk. 13 August 2014. 
  30. ^ "The Outsider". SEC. 22 April 2014. 
  31. ^ "How 'The Outsiders' Became One Of The Most Important Business Books In America". Forbes. 8 May 2014. 
  32. ^ "Pershing Square's Presentation on Allergan/Valeant: The Outsider". Market Folly. 23 April 2014. 
  33. ^ "Ruling Puts Crimp in Takeover Alliances". Capital Activist. 8 November 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Cheffins, Brian R. (2014). "Hedge Fund Activism Canadian Style". University of British Columbia Law Review 47 (1): 1–59) (Discussing Pershing Square's activities in Canada, and a unique cultural reluctance to support active value creation by ethical intervening shareholders). SSRN 2204294. 
  • Rojas, Claudio R. (2014). "An Indeterminate Theory of Canadian Corporate Law". University of British Columbia Law Review 47 (1): 59–128 ("The author's perspective on Berkshire Hathaway's investment philosophy was informed by discussions with Warren Buffett in Omaha, Nebraska": pp. 59, 122–124). SSRN 2391775. 

External links[edit]