Bill Ackman: "I’m Only Second To Donald Trump In Terms Of Clicks On The Internet"

Tyler Durden's picture

There are several delightful tidbits in this weekend's FT interview with ADP CEO Carlos Rodriguez, who has been engaged in a bitter proxy fight with activist investor Bill ackman. For those who are familiar with the Pershing Square head, it will come as no surprise that he has long harbored megalomaniac tendencies. For everyone else, the following segment should be quite eye-opening.

As ADP chief executive Carlos Rodriguez recalls it, activist investor Bill Ackman told him he should step down the first time he spoke to him. The second time, he warned him there would be a public fight. 

 

“He said: I know you don’t like the media, but I do and I’m really good at it,” Mr Rodriguez said. “And if this gets into a public battle, it’s going to be bad for you personally, it’s going to be bad for the company, but I’m fine with it because — and he said this — I’m told that I’m only second to Donald Trump in terms of number of clicks on the internet, and hence you will lose if there’s a public relations battle.”

It's not clear what "clicks" Ackman was referring to: his official twitter account has 13.9K followers, and Ackman has tweeted a total of 9 times since joining Twitter this June. Perhaps Ackman has an inside look into google searches but we doubt that this is the smoking gun.

It gets better:

The fund manager also sought an extension of time from the board to nominate directors because he was going on holiday and needed more time to finish his presentation.  According to Mr Rodriguez, Mr Ackman told him: “I can’t change my vacation plans. And by the way, even if I wasn’t going on vacation, my presentation isn’t ready. I haven’t finished the work,” he recalled.

 

“And I’m like: Well, OK. I’ll relay that back to the board.”

 

“The board had a discussion. The board said: Why in the world . . . and everyone’s scratching their heads like: Why would we grant an extension?” Mr Rodriguez said. “He’s had plenty of time. He’s had a whole year.”

We can therefore commiserate with Rodriguez' summary of his Ackman interactions as "surreal"

Mr Rodriguez, who had never dealt with an activist campaign before Mr Ackman launched a proxy fight to win three seats on the board of the US HR and payroll processing company he runs, recounted in an interview the conversations that began in August this year, calling them “surreal”.

Perhaps the pressure finally got to bill - the stakes are certainly high: "Pershing Square has invested about 25 per cent of its funds in ADP, making the company its largest investment. The fund says that ADP can boost its profit margins by improving software and services, reducing operating costs and becoming more efficient."

In any case, as the FT adds, "Ackman disputes Mr Rodriguez’s recollection of their conversations, and has publicly said he is willing to work with the ADP chief executive. 'It’s disappointing that ADP continues to attack the messenger instead of addressing the important questions we have raised about ADP’s operational underperformance and its deteriorating competitive position.'"

As for attacking the messenger, there's plenty to go around:

Mr Rodriguez is also critical of Mr Ackman’s record: after finishing 2016 down 9.6 per cent and 2015 down 16.2 per cent, his main fund is flat this year, though in 2014, he was up 36.9 per cent. In March this year, he apologised to investors over his disastrous investment in Valeant, which lost his funds about $4bn. 

 

Unfortunately, what he has left is destruction and chaos in his wake on a number of other companies that did not work out,” Mr Rodriguez said.

Read the full interview here.

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totenkopf88's picture

Another moneychanging sociopath

HenryKissingerZuckerberg's picture

tje he he

(((Ackman))) he is chosen by god, you are all goys.

totenkopf88's picture

He must be so smart putting 25% of his $ into one company/sarc. Now if he would have put that much into PCLN 10 years ago I would be impressed.

NoDebt's picture

He may be second in clicks or he may not.  But he's #1 in terms of insanity.

DO NOT invest money with this man.  He's as big a lunatic as Bill Gross has become in recent years but without the minty freshness.

 

cheech_wizard's picture

Someone afflicted with “The Hubris Syndrome,” a term first coined by David Owen in his book of the same name, exhibits an exaggerated pride, overwhelming self-confidence and contempt for others. Someone suffering from The Hubris Syndrome rarely admits failure. The Hubris Syndrome becomes the signature trait of the sociopath that has risen to the top of your typical dysfunctional organization. 

Standard Disclaimer: All the signs, but what's the cure?


City_Of_Champyinz's picture

This guy Ackman just screams out 'douchebag'. How the fuck does this idiot lose money in these manipulated up 'markets'?  That takes some real skill.

Keltner Channel Surf's picture

And second only to Martin Shkreli in being a self-absorbed, insular fuck-wad.

shizzledizzle's picture

Well, people do love a good train wreck. 

White Devil's picture

Somebody should mail him a box of diarrhea.

TheMexican's picture

To take the beating he did in his Herbalife short position and Valeant long position and continuously argue he is right and not cover takes a special type of sociopath.

"A sociopath can be defined as a person who has Antisocial Personality Disorder. This disorder is characterized by a disregard for the feelings of others, a lack of remorse or shame, manipulative behavior, unchecked egocentricity, and the ability to lie in order to achieve one's goals. Sociopaths can be dangerous at worst or simply very difficult to deal with, and it's important to know if you have found yourself with a sociopath, whether it's someone you're dating or an impossible coworker. If you want to know how to spot a sociopath, then you have to pay careful attention to what the person says or does."

alpha-protagonist's picture

Ackman has that same punk-ass bitch demeanor as Rahm Emanuel. If they're not sociopaths, they're motherfuckin' narcissists!

Catullus's picture

Am I paying you to write blog posts and get clicks on the internet? Or am I paying you to manage my money?

Pull your money from this guy

small axe's picture

the only real question is who has the bigger schlong

Squid Viscous's picture

Hitler is proven more right with every passing week: Weinstein, Ackman, Schumer, etc. etc. etc. 

Yukon Cornholius's picture

It takes (((one))) to know (((one))).

any_mouse's picture

Lest we forget, today we learned of USAF General Goldfein and his search for novel uses of nukes in combat.

I am sorry, but Hitler bothered no Jews.

The end credits should have had a disclaimer:
"No Jews were gassed or cremated in the making of Holocaust: The Movie."

Work camps were not sanitary to begin with, add in food and supplies diverted to fending off Bolsheviks at the gate to Berlin, constant Allied bombing of infrastructure, except those of certain owners of the means of Production that served the German War machine. Their factories were never on the target lists. Nor were they summoned to Nuremberg to receive a pretend judgement and pretend punishment.

German war machine needed slave laborers to replace laborers conscripted to replace losses on the Eastern Front.

They did not need dead bodies in the manufacture of war materiel.

Hitler was responsible for the death of millions of German males in the prime of their lives. The Soviets came in led by Bolsheviks, and raped every German female, every as in from infant to grandmother, in Soviet occupied territory.

The genocide of German bloodlines.

Back to the Jish.

No camp staff to bury the dead. Corpses, piled on corpses.

Then Eisenhower's Hollywood producer (a wookie from Endor) produced "Holocaust: the Movie" from a staged production. As phony as Leni Riefenstahl's masses of happy, blissful Aryans cheering for Hitler. Hired event actors. 30,000 strong. She was good. The CIA and Hollywood are better. The villagers in the movie of Holocaust were set up. The table of lamp shades and soap bars were props. Black & White. They told you what you were seeing.

Like holding up a vial of a white substance and telling us that it is anthrax from Saddam's chemical weapon factories. Or smudges and shadows that are labeled "Missile Launcher" etc. on a paste up board. Or radar images of North Vietnamese gunboats firing on USN war ships.

"I Like Ike" was lying, gasp, lying to us. Fifteen years before his warning, upon exit, of the MIC that he oversaw during the boom years of development, for eight years.

Agent P's picture

*cough*TOOL*cough*

Grandad Grumps's picture

"Fear and Ego" ... beat it while you are here.

Vageling's picture

This guy is NutZ. Full retard! Trump is the legally elected POTUS. Challenging that is cracking an hard nut. Not easy. Sure... He gets to disagree. But that rambo talk? No bitch. You're Jane, he's Tarzan. 

Little funny guy is saying between the lines he thinks he runs a country. Funny man. Even jeopardize the company? Sure... Be careful his ass doesn't get booted first. Stakeholders don't like this BS.

Tone down silly muppet. "That" empire" is not completed yet. Never will be by the people their wish. Suck it up, buttercup. You're a legend in your own mind only. Muppet!

Rebelrebel7's picture

Bill Ackman will be devastated to learn that when I typed bi , Bill O'Reilly and Billy Joel showed up as auto srarch suggestions, and I've never searched either of those names . 

any_mouse's picture

No bisexual?

DuckDuckGo "bi"

Top Down.
"BI Incorporated."
"Bing"
"Bi | Definition of Bi by Merriam-Webster"
"bi videos - XVIDEOS.COM"

No Bill or Billy.

any_mouse's picture

Ackman meant to say "Bill Ackman gets a lot of dicks on the internet."

Bigly's picture

Who is Bill Ackman?

Vageling's picture

What's a Ackman? ;) Like pacman? I see a head exploding. 

Dude thinks we got shrines set up for him. Deluded mofo.

RedBaron616's picture

Bill who? I guess your secretary must have lied to you about the second to Trump nonsense. I certainly don't run around the Internet looking for YOUR nuggets of knowledge. LOL Get a life, loser.

Akzed's picture

So many douche bags, so little time...

historian40's picture

I clicked on this story to find out who Ackman is, and I still don't know....

Davidduke2000's picture

He is a young madoff in the making. 

rqb1's picture

Bill Ackman has always been straight forward and honest with small investors.  He is not always right, but it has been good for me to follow him.  On GGP I had bitcoin returns and I will always be thankful to him for that.  

aqualech's picture

The Kim Kardashian’s of hedge fund managers!

Davidduke2000's picture

He is more like the pee wee herman of hedge funds

experimentals's picture

10/23/2017 ADP’s Rodriguez squares up to activist investor Bill Ackman

https://www.ft.com/content/03efcc88-b528-11e7-a398-73d59db9e399?mhq5j=e7 1/5

Automatic Data Processing Inc

ADP’s Rodriguez squares up to activist investor Bill Ackman

Proxy battle with Pershing Square to secure board seats reveals culture differences

© Pascal Perich/FT

YESTERDAY by Lindsay Fortado in London

As ADP chief executive Carlos Rodriguez recalls it, activist investor Bill Ackman told him he should

step down the first time he spoke to him. The second time, he warned him there would be a public

fight.

“He said: I know you don’t like the media, but I do and I’m really good at it,” Mr Rodriguez said.

“And if this gets into a public battle, it’s going to be bad for you personally, it’s going to be bad for

the company, but I’m fine with it because — and he said this — I’m told that I’m only second to

Donald Trump in terms of number of clicks on the internet, and hence you will lose if there’s a

public relations battle.”

Mr Rodriguez, who had never dealt with an activist campaign before Mr Ackman launched a proxy

fight to win three seats on the board of the US HR and payroll processing company he runs,

recounted in an interview the conversations that began in August this year, calling them “surreal”.

The proxy battle between Mr Ackman’s Pershing Square hedge fund and ADP has been one of the

bigger shareholder activist disputes of the year. The largest, where Nelson Peltz sought a board seat

10/23/2017 ADP’s Rodriguez squares up to activist investor Bill Ackman

https://www.ft.com/content/03efcc88-b528-11e7-a398-73d59db9e399?mhq5j=e7 2/5

at Procter & Gamble, went down to the wire in a vote earlier this month. In the end, Mr Peltz lost by

a tiny margin.

While industry insiders say they expect ADP to win this fight, some analysts say that shareholders

are receptive to Pershing Square’s ideas. Mr Ackman’s bid for the board seats will go to a vote at the

company’s annual shareholder meeting on November 7.

Mr Rodriguez, a 53-year-old Cuban immigrant, has been chief executive of the largest HR and

payroll provider in the US since 2011, while billionaire Mr Ackman is one of the best-known

activists after years of high-profile investments including Valeant Pharmaceuticals, JC Penney and

Chipotle.

Mr Ackman disputes Mr Rodriguez’s recollection of their conversations, and has publicly said he is

willing to work with the ADP chief executive.

“It’s disappointing that ADP continues to attack the messenger instead of addressing the important

questions we have raised about ADP’s operational underperformance and its deteriorating

competitive position,” Mr Ackman said.

Pershing Square has invested about 25 per cent of its funds in ADP, making the company its largest

investment. The fund says that ADP can boost its profit margins by improving software and

services, reducing operating costs and becoming more efficient.

ADP has outperformed the US stock market over the past five years, generating total returns of

152.4 per cent, compared with 98.7 per cent for the S&P 500, according to FactSet data. However,

this year, returns of 13.4 per cent have fallen short of the 16.3 per cent posted by the US equities

barometer.

The ADP chief executive said he has “no disagreement with the themes” that Mr Ackman has

raised, but that the company is already making large investments in technology and is focusing on

data analytics and opportunities from changes to the way people are employed and paid.

“We have become a much broader human resources provider besides just the original payroll

things that we have done traditionally,” Mr Rodriguez said.

A Sanford Bernstein report published this month that surveyed some of ADP’s shareholders found

support for Mr Ackman’s ideas, but also for the company’s management.

10/23/2017 ADP’s Rodriguez squares up to activist investor Bill Ackman

https://www.ft.com/content/03efcc88-b528-11e7-a398-73d59db9e399?mhq5j=e7 3/5

While the support for Pershing Square’s ideas “may

not translate to votes” and the majority are sceptical

of the fund’s nominees for the board, which include

Mr Ackman, its involvement and its focus on higher

margins should be a win-win for shareholders, they

said.

The results of the shareholder survey “increase the

likelihood that Pershing will win meaningful support

in the Nov 7 shareholder vote, although we still consider it unlikely the activist wins seats,”

Bernstein analysts Lisa Ellis and Harshita Rawat wrote.

Mr Rodriguez, who is one of just a few Latinos at the helm of a major US company, was born in

Camagüey, Cuba in 1964, just five years after the revolution ousted President Fulgencio Batista and

Fidel Castro seized power. At the age of three, his family fled the country, landing in West Palm

Beach, Florida with a suitcase.

Mr Rodriguez joined ADP in 1999 through an acquisition and ran various business units before he

became chief executive. ADP has a market capitalisation of about $50bn, and more than 700,000

clients.

Mr Rodriguez, who attended Harvard at the same time as Mr Ackman, said the two first spoke on

August 1.

Pershing Square, which had built an 8 per cent stake in ADP in stock and derivatives, was

supportive of the company’s progress but thought it needed to adapt faster, to replace as many as

five directors, and to oust Mr Rodriguez, he recalled Mr Ackman telling him.

The fund manager also sought an extension of time from the board to nominate directors because

he was going on holiday and needed more time to finish his presentation.

According to Mr Rodriguez, Mr Ackman told him: “I

can’t change my vacation plans. And by the way, even

if I wasn’t going on vacation, my presentation isn’t

ready. I haven’t finished the work,” he recalled. “And

I’m like: Well, OK. I’ll relay that back to the board.”

Why would we grant an

extension? He’s had plenty

of time. He’s had a whole

year

CARLOS RODRIGUEZ

It’s disappointing that ADP

continues to attack the

messenger instead of

addressing the important

questions we have raised ...

10/23/2017 ADP’s Rodriguez squares up to activist investor Bill Ackman

https://www.ft.com/content/03efcc88-b528-11e7-a398-73d59db9e399?mhq5j=e7 4/5

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't copy articles

from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

“The board had a discussion. The board said: Why in

the world . . . and everyone’s scratching their heads

like: Why would we grant an extension?” Mr

Rodriguez said. “He’s had plenty of time. He’s had a

whole year.”

ADP’s board rejected the request, and Mr Ackman

launched a proxy fight to win three board seats.

The contest has grown testy, with Mr Rodriguez dubbing his rival a “spoiled brat” in a television

interview.

Mr Ackman has responded with a series of webcasts targeting ADP retail shareholders — who

historically vote alongside the company in a proxy fight and make up about 28 per cent of ADP’s

investor base.

Pershing Square has said the company is “underperforming its potential” and needs to answer why

its productivity is below competitors.

But Mr Rodriguez said Mr Ackman has been unprepared on how to help improve ADP, and does

not fully understand the company. “Everybody understands the message, which is margins should

be double what they are . . . but there is no plan to do that,” he said.

Mr Rodriguez is also critical of Mr Ackman’s record: after finishing 2016 down 9.6 per cent and

2015 down 16.2 per cent, his main fund is flat this year, though in 2014, he was up 36.9 per cent. In

March this year, he apologised to investors over his disastrous investment in Valeant, which lost his

funds about $4bn.

“Unfortunately, what he has left is destruction and chaos in his wake on a number of other

companies that did not work out,” Mr Rodriguez said.

“We have a strategy, and we have a board of directors that tests our strategy . . . We do not have any

strategy from him.”

Additional reporting by Adam Samson

BILL ACKMAN

10/23/2017 ADP’s Rodriguez squares up to activist investor Bill Ackman

https://www.ft.com/content/03efcc88-b528-11e7-a398-73d59db9e399?mhq5j=e7 5/5

Kelley's picture

He is "King of the World!"