• EconMatters
    11/24/2015 - 14:25
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Pershing Square

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Frontrunning: November 24

  • Turkey downs Russian warplane near Syria border, Moscow denies airspace violation (Reuters)
  • Investors seek safety in bonds, yen after Turkey downs Russian jet (Reuters)
  • Donald Trump Is Not Backing Down (BBG)
  • Uber's Exposure May Grow as U.S. Drivers Seek 57.5 Cents a Mile (BBG)
  • U.S. issues global travel alert as manhunt continues for Paris attackers (Reuters)
  • Stung by Oil, Distressed-Debt Traders See Worst Losses Since '08 (BBG)
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Bill Ackman Triples-Down On Valeant: Boosts Stake To 9.9% By Buying Calls, Selling Puts

In the infamous words of Kenny Rogers, "you gotta know when to fold 'em," but in the case of Bill Ackman and his Pershing Square Fund's massive losing position in Valeant (19.47 million shares at average cost of $183.57 against today's $87.11 lows), he has decided to not just double-down, but triple-down by selling puts to fund calls and increase his stake in the company to 9.9% (or 34.12 million shares).

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The Buffet Backlash: Anger Builds At "Hypocrite" Billionaire Hiding Behind "Folksy" Facade

In the wake of Bill Ackman's verbal jousting with Charile Munger, WSJ has taken a look at what many consider to be the myth behind Warren Buffett's "folksy" demeanor. As it turns out, it's best to do as Buffett does, not as he says.

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In Duel With Valeant, Ackman; Is Judge David Carter The "New Jed Rakoff?"

In his rejection of an SEC settlement with Citigroup, Judge Jed Rakoff vowed to "see that the truth emerges." After presiding over the most high-profile insider trading cases since the crisis -- including Raj Rajaratnam and Rajit Gupta -- Judge Rakoff has come to symbolize the mantra that "nobody is above the law." In determining that Valeant and hedge fund manager Bill Ackman must face insider trading charges for their failed takeover of Allergan, U.S. District Judge David Carter may be the "new Rakoff."

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Ackman's Terrible Year Just Got Even Worse With News He Will Be Sued For Collusive Insider Trading

We just got a confirmation that Ackman may not only not have been "brazenly intelligent" but was downright stupid when moments ago we learned that a District Judge in Santa Ana, California, David Carter, has said Valeant and Ackman must both face a lawsuit accusing them of insider trading in Allergan before making an unsuccessful takeover bid for the maker of Botox.

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Billionaire Bitch Fight: Ackman Slams Munger, Buffett For Profiting Off Fat Americans

"I have a problem with Berkshire’s ownership of Coke,” Ackman told an audience of about 200 people. “Coca-Cola has probably done more to create obesity, diabetes on a global basis than any other company in the world. "You have some of the best marketing in the world and a lot of happy skinny people drinking it in the advertising."

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Valeant Fiasco Hits Biggest Holder: Sequoia Suffers Largest Outflow Of The Year, And Why It Could Get Worse

Ruane Cunniff & Goldfarb, the investment firm that runs the Sequoia Fund, was Valeant’s largest shareholder as of June 30, with VRX shares growing to 29% of Sequoia’s portfolio at midyear. The latest outflow is a continuation of previous redemptions: "in the first 10 months of 2015, Sequoia Fund’s outflows totaled about $213 million, Bloomberg data show, after investors withdrew more than $500 million in 2014."

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Frontrunning: November 10

  • Bonds Rise as China Drags Down Metals, Selloff in Stocks Resumes (BBG)
  • European Stock Rally Runs Out of Steam Amid China Growth Concern (BBG)
  • Obama's immigration action blocked again; Supreme Court only option left (Reuters)
  • Ukraine: Cyberwar’s Hottest Front (WSJ)
  • With $170.4 Million Sale at Auction, Modigliani Work Joins Rarefied Nine-Figure Club (NYT)
  • IEA Sees OPEC Market Share Growth in 2020 as Rivals Stagnate (BBG)
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Bill Ackman Is Down 19% In 2015 Following 7.3% Loss In October On Valeant Plunge

First the good news for Bill Ackman: as of October 31, it appears that Pershing Square has not had a spike in redemption requests (or if it has, it hasn't granted them yet). We know this because as of October 31, Pershing Square's AUM was $15.1 billion. The bad news is that at $15.1 billion, this is the lowest AUM for Bill Ackman in over a year and his current net performance for October and YTD is a deplorable -7.3%, and -19.0% respectively.

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The Best And Worst Performing Assets In October And YTD

The torrid October, with its historic S&P500 point rally, is finally in the history books, and at least for a select group of hedge funds such as Glenview, Pershing Square and Greenlight and certainly their L.P.s, a very scary Halloween couldn't come fast enough, leading to losses between 15% and 20%. How did everyone else fare? Below, courtesy of Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid, is a summary of what worked in October (and YTD), and what didn't.

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Bill Ackman Defends Valeant, Herbalife Trolls Pershing Square - Live Webcast

“I hope Bill Ackman has done more research on Valeant than he did on Herbalife, Target, Borders and JC Penny,” said Alan Hoffman, executive vice president, global corporate affairs, Herbalife.

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Futures Fade As Hawkish Fed Deemed Not So Bullish After All

Based on the overnight market prints which are an oddly reddish shade of green, it took algos about 12 hours to realize that the reason they soared for most of October, namely hopes of an easier Fed which were launched with the terrible September jobs report and continued with increasingly worse US economic report in the past month, can not be the same reason they also soared yesterday after the announcement of a more hawkish than expected Fed statement which envisioned a stronger US economy and a removal of foreign considerations, which even more curiously took place on even worse data than the Fed's far more dovish September statement.

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Another Ackman Casualty: PAH Tumbles After CEO Retirement

It's been a tough week for Pershing Square and Bill Ackman. First, Valeant gets eviscerated; and now, another major holding - Platform Specialty Products - plunged as much as 15% on news that the CEO is retiring.

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The Morning After: Valeant Default Risk Soars After Called Next "Tyco", Sellside "Analysts" Humiliated

As always happens after shocking events like yesterday which "nobody could have possibly predicted", watching the Penguin gallery reel in its humiliation is absolutely worth the price of admission.

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