Pershing navigates the storm

Wed Apr 30, 2008


Bill Ackman’s activist positions, like Target, may be worrisome, but his short bet on MBIA is bailing him out for now. That’s allowing him to raise capital and make new investments at a time when others are proclaiming the death of activism.


Activists are facing hard times, but Bill Ackman has been through worse.
By Julie Dalla-Costa

The first thing Bill Ackman sees when he comes to work each morning is the shiny jet propeller that hangs on the entry wall of the midtown New York office of Pershing Square Capital Management, the hedge fund firm he founded in 2004. A symbol of Ackman's resolve to keep going in any kind of rough investment weather, it's the kind of motivation that comes in handy these days.

With the buyout, real estate, credit and stock markets all in turmoil, activists such as Ackman who were the market's darlings during the recent sunny years have hit a pocket of turbulence. Given the concentrated bets, leverage and real estate focus that have been Pershing Square's hallmark, few might seem more exposed. The firm had its worst month ever in February, when it was down 6.2%...

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