Person

Bill Ackman

Bill Ackman (link) by Business Insider is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0 (link)
Nationality:

American

Born:

1966

Occupation:

Investor, Hedge Fund Manager, and Founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management

William “Bill” Ackman is a Democratic political donor, investor, and hedge fund manager. Ackman has shorted stocks betting they would fall in value while pushing negative media stories about those companies. Ackman is also an “activist” investor who has pushed for policy and leadership changes at companies in which he owns stock.

Background

Bill Ackman is CEO and portfolio manager at Pershing Square Capital Management (“Pershing Square”), a hedge fund firm he founded in 2003. [1] Previously, Ackman co-founded and managed the hedge fund firm Gotham Partners Management. [2] He began his career in real estate investment banking at Ackman Brothers and Singer Inc. [3] Ackman has a B.A. from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. [4] In 2022, Forbes estimated Ackman to be worth $2.7 billion. [5]

Pershing Square

At the end of 2021, Pershing Square’s holdings were valued at $57 billion. [6] Pershing Square has made controversial investments and trades such as a short-sale of Herbalife in 2012. [7] (Short selling is a process by which one borrows shares for a set time to sell them, with the goal of repurchasing the shares to cover the loan at a lower price; short-sellers profit if the stock price of the company falls.) [8] Ackman and Pershing Square shorted about $1 billion of Herbalife stock, claiming the company operated as a pyramid scheme. [9] Ackman hired lobbyists attempting to convince Congress to investigate Herbalife, which resulted in Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the company. [10] After five years and little change in stock price, Ackman’s Pershing Square dropped their short position in Herbalife. [11]

In January 2022, Ackman and Pershing Square acquired 3.1 million shares of Netflix valued at $1.1 billion. [12] In April 2022, Ackman and the firm sold all the shares resulting in a $400 million loss in three months. [13]

In 2005, Ackman and Pershing Square purchased a large share of Wendy’s stock and pressured management at the company to spin-off its Tim Horton’s brand. [14] After Wendy’s agreed, Ackman sold his shares, making a large profit. The Wendy’s stock price later fell, [15] leading critics to claim that Ackman was responsible for leaving Wendy’s without the growing Tim Horton’s brand. [16]

In 2008, Ackman and Pershing Square purchased a large share of Target Corporation and pressured the company to sell its credit card portfolio. [17]

Views

In March 2020, Ackman called for President Donald Trump to shut down the country due to the coronavirus, stating that without lockdowns, “America will end as we know it.” [18] It is estimated that Pershing Capital made $3.8 billion on trades involving COVID-related market movements. [19]

In 2021, Ackman angered some through a series of tweets supporting Kyle Rittenhouse during Rittenhouse’s homicide trial in Wisconsin. [20] Rittenhouse was later found not guilty on all counts. [21]

In 2017, Ackman got into a heated exchange with Joe Biden at a private dinner. [22] After a comment by Ackman that Biden took to be about his late son, Biden called Ackman an expletive and told him to “just shut the hell up.” [23] Ackman did not donate to Biden’s 2020 presidential election campaign. [24]

In 2016, Ackman wrote an op-ed supporting Michael Bloomberg (who did not run that year) over Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for President. [25]

Political Contributions

Since 1998, with few exceptions to select Republicans, Ackman has mainly donated to Democratic election candidates. [26] Ackman has donated more than $600,000 to Democratic campaigns including those of Barack Obama, Al Gore, former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. [27]

References

  1. “William A. Ackman.” Pershing Square Foundation. Accessed June 8, 2022. https://pershingsquarefoundation.org/people/william-a-ackman-2/. ^
  2. “William A. Ackman.” Pershing Square Foundation. Accessed June 8, 2022. https://pershingsquarefoundation.org/people/william-a-ackman-2/. ^
  3. “William A. Ackman.” Pershing Square Foundation. Accessed June 8, 2022. https://pershingsquarefoundation.org/people/william-a-ackman-2/. ^
  4. “William A. Ackman.” Pershing Square Foundation. Accessed June 8, 2022. https://pershingsquarefoundation.org/people/william-a-ackman-2/. ^
  5. “William Ackman.” Forbes. Accessed June 8, 2022. https://www.forbes.com/profile/william-ackman/?sh=5fcb698298d3. ^
  6. Schultz, Hank. “Herbalife Foe Ackman Swears Off Short Selling Strategy.” Nutra Ingredients. April 5, 2022. Accessed June 9, 2022. https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2022/04/05/herbalife-foe-ackman-swears-off-short-selling-strategy#. ^
  7. Schultz, Hank. “Herbalife Foe Ackman Swears Off Short Selling Strategy.” Nutra Ingredients. April 5, 2022. Accessed June 9, 2022. https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2022/04/05/herbalife-foe-ackman-swears-off-short-selling-strategy#. ^
  8. “Short Sale.” Cambridge English Dictionary. Accessed June 30, 2022. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/short-sale. ^
  9. Moyer, Liz. “Five Years After Brawl with Carl Icahn, Bill Ackman Exits Losing Bet Against Herbalife.” CNBC. February 28, 2018. Accessed June 9, 2022. https://www.wcnc.com/article/news/nation-now/five-years-after-brawl-with-carl-icahn-bill-ackman-exits-losing-bet-against-herbalife/465-a8f6e5b6-2824-40b5-9239-d339ecaeb235; Schultz, Hank. “Herbalife Foe Ackman Swears Off Short Selling Strategy.” Nutra Ingredients. April 5, 2022. Accessed June 9, 2022. https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2022/04/05/herbalife-foe-ackman-swears-off-short-selling-strategy#. ^
  10. “Ackman Outspent by Herbalife in Lobbying Battle.” CNBC. March 10, 2014. Accessed June 9, 2022. https://www.cnbc.com/2014/03/10/ackman-outspent-by-herbalife-in-lobbying-battle.html. ^
  11. [1] Schultz, Hank. “Herbalife Foe Ackman Swears Off Short Selling Strategy.” Nutra Ingredients. April 5, 2022. Accessed June 9, 2022. https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2022/04/05/herbalife-foe-ackman-swears-off-short-selling-strategy#. ^
  12. Bill Ackman Tweet. www.twitter.com. January 26, 2022. Accessed June 8, 2022. https://twitter.com/BillAckman/status/1486460691519361024?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1486460691519361024%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.wsj.com%2Farticles%2Fwilliam-ackman-takes-stake-in-netflix-11643236690; Spangler, Todd. “Hedge Fund Manager Bill Ackman Sells Entire Netflix Stake, Taking $400 Million Loss.” Variety. April 21, 2022. Accessed June 8, 2022. https://variety.com/2022/digital/news/bill-ackman-sells-netflix-stake-loss-1235237715/. ^
  13. Spangler, Todd. “Hedge Fund Manager Bill Ackman Sells Entire Netflix Stake, Taking $400 Million Loss.” Variety. April 21, 2022. Accessed June 8, 2022. https://variety.com/2022/digital/news/bill-ackman-sells-netflix-stake-loss-1235237715/. ^
  14. Serres, Chris. “William Ackman: Targeting Target.” Star Tribune. January 13, 2008. Archived from the original May 29, 2012. Accessed June 28, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20120529164307/http://www.startribune.com/printarticle/?id=13715691 ^
  15. Serres, Chris. “William Ackman: Targeting Target.” Star Tribune. January 13, 2008. Archived from the original May 29, 2012. Accessed June 28, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20120529164307/http://www.startribune.com/printarticle/?id=13715691 ^
  16.  Serres, Chris. “William Ackman: Targeting Target.” Star Tribune. January 13, 2008. Archived from the original May 29, 2012. Accessed June 28, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20120529164307/http://www.startribune.com/printarticle/?id=13715691 ^
  17. Serres, Chris. “William Ackman: Targeting Target.” Star Tribune. January 13, 2008. Archived from the original May 29, 2012. Accessed June 28, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20120529164307/http://www.startribune.com/printarticle/?id=13715691 ^
  18. “’Hell is Coming – Bill Ackman Has Dire Warning for Trump, CEOs if Drastic Measures Aren’t Taken Now.” CNBC. March 18, 2020. Accessed June 8, 2022. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/18/bill-ackman-pleads-to-trump-to-increase-closures-to-save-the-economy-shut-it-down-now.html. ^
  19. Weil, Dan. “Hedge Funder Ackman Makes $3.8 Billion on Covid Trades.” The Street. February 1, 2022. Accessed June 8, 2022. https://www.thestreet.com/investing/ackman-3-billion-dollars-covid-trades; Hartmans, Avery. “Billionaire Bill Ackman Calls for Trump to Concede: ‘Think About Your Legacy and What is Best for the Country.” Business Insider. November 9, 2020. Accessed June 8, 2022. https://www.businessinsider.com/bill-ackman-urges-trump-to-concede-election-2020-11. ^
  20. Pesce, Nicole Lyn. “Bill Ackman: Kyle Rittenhouse is ‘Telling the Truth’ and ‘Acted in Self-Defense’ in Viral Twitter Feed.” Market Watch. November 12, 2021. Accessed June 9, 2022. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/bill-ackman-kyle-rittenhouse-is-telling-the-truth-and-acted-in-self-defense-in-viral-twitter-thread-11636737750. ^
  21. Hymes, Clare. “Kyle Rittenhouse Found Not Guilty of All Charges in Kenosha Shootings.” CBS News. CBS Interactive, November 20, 2021. https://www.cbsnews.com/live-updates/kyle-rittenhouse-verdict-acquitted-all-charges/. ^
  22. Cullen, Terrence. “Joe Biden Gets into Tense Exchange With billionaire Bill Ackman.” New York Daily News. June 24, 2017. Accessed June 9, 2022. https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/joe-biden-tense-exchange-billionaire-bill-ackman-article-1.3274531. ^
  23. Schwartz, Brian. “Joe Biden’s Beef with Joe Ackman Sparks Heated Exchange and Presidential Chatter.” Fox Business. June 27, 2017. Accessed June 9, 2022. https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/joe-bidens-beef-with-bill-ackman-sparks-heated-exchange-and-presidential-chatter. ^
  24. “Bill Ackman.” Center for Responsive Politics. Accessed June 13, 2022. https://www.opensecrets.org/donor-lookup/results?name=William+ackman. ^
  25. [1] La Roche, Julia. “Billionaire Bill Ackman Wrote an Op-Ed in Support of Bloomberg for President Because ‘America is Burning.’” Business Insider. February 11, 2016. Accessed June 8, 2022. https://www.businessinsider.com/ackman-op-ed-bloomberg-for-president-2016-2. ^
  26. “Bill Ackman.” Center for Responsive Politics. Accessed June 13, 2022. https://www.opensecrets.org/donor-lookup/results?name=William+ackman. ^
  27. Bill Ackman.” Center for Responsive Politics. Accessed June 13, 2022. https://www.opensecrets.org/donor-lookup/results?name=William+ackman. ^
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