By Pete Gallo
I'm starting to think that William Ackman must have some kind of top secret, NASA-designed heat shield that protects his midtown Manhattan trading desk, because when global markets melted down in September and October, many stock picks in his Pershing Square portfolio seemed to have managed an almost uncannily safe reentry.
Let me explain. One of Pershing's biggest positions going into the September-October market maelstrom was a large stake in Longs Drug Stores, which had a buyout deal in the works, long before the $700 billion federal bailout was even a twinkle in the eye of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, or before anyone could imagine daily, 1,000-point swings on the Dow.
Records with the Securities and Exchange Commission suggest that the hedge fund's 3.1 million-share investment in Longs, which is based in Walnut Creek, Calif., was poised for a big payout as rival drug...