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...