drink the kool-aid
The week before Christmas, superstar hedge fund manager Bill Ackman took the stage in a Manhattan auditorium and presented a bold new position: he was shorting shares in Herbalife. You know, the weight-loss aids and nutritional supplements that your Aunt Becky insists are going to make her very thin and very rich one of these days, and maybe you too, if you’d only give them a try.
It was a bravura performance. Mr. Ackman mocked the company’s promises to make its distributors wealthy—“Episodes of MTV Cribs?” he said of a particularly schlocky marketing video—and criticized its efforts to “buy” associations with prominent universities and scientists. That was just for starters. Over the next three hours and 340 slides, he presented his evidence that Herbalife met the Federal Trade Commission’s definition of a pyramid scheme and should be shuttered by the agency.
John Paulson is a more aggressive risk-taker than other hedge fund managers, a Bank of America executive told clients on a conference call yesterday, Bloomberg reports. Mr. Paulson answered questions from BofA’s wealth management clients after Citigroup’s private banking unit redeemed $410 million from Paulson funds last week.
Ray Dalio isn’t making friends in Stamford, Read More
Libor arrests: U.S. and European regulators are on the verge of arresting traders believed to have manipulated Libor and other interbank lending rates, Reuters reports. The arrests, and criminal prosecutions or plea agreements to follow, are largely separate from enforcement actions regulators are pursuing against individual banks.
Soft tactics: The Federal Reserve Bank Read More
Libor-ated: The U.S. Department of Justice is building criminal cases against financial institutions and individuals involved in the manipulation of interbank lending rates, according to The New York Times. Deutsche Bank agreed to cooperate with the European Commission’s Libor investigation, reports Der Spiegel. Prosecutors in New York, Connecticut, Florida and Massachusetts are Read More
“I want to have one of the great investment records of all time, why not?” Bill Ackman, founder of hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management said nonchalantly over breakfast one Saturday in early April.
He had just come from two hours of tennis on Randall’s Island, still in his sweat-stained black nylon warm-up pants, for Read More
From his perch onstage at the Pierre Hotel last Thursday, Bill Ackman looked down his nose on REITs.
“You can make more money on a single real estate deal than as a REIT,” he said at the 16th annual REIT symposium hosted by the N.Y.U. Schack Institute. Mr. Ackman, who made at least some of Read More
The Stuy Town labyrinth has yielded yet another mystery
On Monday, The Real Deal reported that the long-fabled co-op conversion is on its way, based on a press release by Fitch Ratings.
But wait! The publication later clarified that this doesn’t mean the long-awaited conversion has commenced. In fact, it’s just more Read More
General Growth Properties plans for the South Street Seaport appeared sunk when the retail giant filed for bankruptcy last year. All was not lost at sea, though, as lead architect Gregg Pasquarelli, of SHoP Architects, told The Observer back in September: “We assume the Seaport will be going forward at some point. We Read More
Fortune Brands, the weird amalgam of sporting, liquor and faucet companies, is breaking into three pieces. Somewhere, billionaire investor Bill Ackman is probably doing a fist pump of joy.
By The Wall Street Journal‘s tally, Mr. Ackman has already gained about $300 million by trading in Fortune shares:
In pre-market trading, Fortune Brands Read More
Bill Ackman, investor in the prison-industrial complex and famous decrier of bond insurers, is now looking to up his influence in the world of bookselling. The head of Pershing Square Capital Management has said he’s willing to fund a $960 million buyout of Barnes & Noble by Borders. The Times reports: Read More