All about Bill Ackman [Net worth / Biography / Portfolio / Quotes & More]

Famous traders

Bill Ackman

Introduction: Bill Ackman’s Biography

William Albert Ackman is an American investor and hedge fund manager born on the 11th of May, 1966. Bill Ackman is the founder and CEO of a hedge fund company by the name Pershing Square Capital Management. Most people regard him as an activist investor because of this investment approach. Ackman grew up in Chappaqua, New York.

His Education

Ackman finished from Harvard College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Studies in 1988. He got an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1992. Ackman and his Harvard graduate friend, David P. Berkowitz both founded Gotham Partners, an investment firm.

Origin of his Firm

This firm started in 1992 and it made little investments in public organizations. Ackman partnered with Leucadia National, an insurance and real estate firm in 1995 to bid for Rockefeller Center. Even though they lost the bid, Gotham nonetheless made interest from the bid through investors.

Gotham had $500 million worth of assets under Management (AUM) after three years. In 2002, he faced probation for his trading activities by both the New York state and federal authorities. Later on, hostility arose between him and Carl Icahn in 2003 because of a deal tied to Hallwood Realty.

The Shmuck Insurance Deal

Both of them agreed to a Shmuck insurance deal, wherein, if Icahn was to sell the shares under 3 years and realize a 10% profit or more, he and Ackman would share the gains. Icahn sold off the shares but did not obey the contract that was binding him to pay Ackman and his investors $4.5 million.

Ackman sued him for this and after eight years, the court order coerced Icahn to pay an amount of $4.5 million including an interest rate of 9% per annum.

Using his fund, together with that of his previous business partner from Leucadia National, Ackman established Pershing Square Capital Management with $54 million in 2004. Through the years, the firm made numerous investments and profited hugely from them.

Ackman was named one of the world’s top 20 hedge fund managers in January 2015 by LCH investments. This is as a result of a total profit of $11.6 billion made by Pershing Square from its inception in 2004 till the end of 2014.

How did Ackman made his money?

Ackman founded Pershing Square Capital Management in 2004 with an amount of $54 million. This firm had its best year in 2014 when it made about 40% returns when even S&P 500 only made 13% profit that same period. Ackman became a billionaire through the success of Pershing Square. He was listed on Forbe’s billionaire’s list in 2013.

His Bets

Ackman has placed several bold bets which have given Pershing Square huge returns as well as some big losses. During the period of Coronavirus when several stocks experienced a dip, Ackman, on the other hand, made billions of dollars for himself.

Earlier in 2020, Pershing Square invested $27 million in credit protection on high-yield bond indexes and investment grades at the time the market was healthy. Ackman made $2.6 billion during the market crash in March when he sold them.

Where is Bill Ackman Located?

Ackman was a child who was raised in Chappaqua, New York. And there he spent his childhood. After he made a fortune for himself as a hedge fund manager, he acquired several properties. Also, he has a six-acre estate in the Hamptons.

Ackman recently bought four uncombined apartments belonging to the late author, Nancy Friday. He also has a Penthouse at the Upper West Side of Manhattan where he currently resides.

What is his net worth?

During the period of Coronavirus, Ackman managed to turn a bet of $27 million into $2.6 billion. And with the money he acquired through Pershing Square over the years, he has a net worth of about $2.3 billion. As of July 25, 2020, he was ranked no. 391 on the Forbes 400.

Best Quotes by Bill Ackman

  • “I am not emotional about investments. Investing is something where you have to be purely rational and not let emotion affect your decision making – just the facts.”
  • Bill Ackman
  • “I am always prepared to do the right thing regardless of what other people think.”
  • Bill Ackman
  •  “As a result of over-diversification, their (active managers) returns get watered down. Diversification covers up ignorance. Active managers haven’t done enough research into any of their companies. If managers have 200 positions, do you think you know what’s going on at any one of those companies at this moment?”
  • Bill Ackman
  • “In order to be successful, you have to make sure that being rejected doesn’t bother you at all”
  • Bill Ackman
  • “Short-term market and economic prognostication is largely a fool’s errand, we invest according to a strategy that makes the need to rely on short-term market or economic assessments largely irrelevant.”
  • Bill Ackman
  • “If I believe I am right, I will take it to the end of the earth until I am proven right”
  • Bill Ackman
  • “You can learn investing by reading books.”
  • Bill Ackman
  • “Investing is a business where you can look very silly for a long period of time before you are proven right.”
  • Bill Ackman
  • “Experience is making mistakes and learning from them.”
  • Bill Ackman
  • “I thing good private equity investors create a lot more economic value than they destroy.”
  • Bill Ackman
  • “It is certainty that Herbalife is a pyramid scheme. We believe it’s harming a population of low-income principally Hispanic people in the U.S. to benefit a handful of super wealthy people at the top of the pyramid.”
  • Bill Ackman
  • “If you look at the great frauds of all time, Enron had that phantom trading floor. What Herbalife has is it has phantom or fictitious customers.”
  • Bill Ackman

Bill Ackman’s Recommended Portfolio

Below are the top 5 best stocks Bill Ackman invested in beginning with the least favorite:

Restaurant Brands International Inc. (NYSE:QSR)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 22

This American food chain that owns some of the world’s most common fast food restaurants ranks fifth on the list of Bill Ackman’s top stock pick. Some of their restaurants include Burger King, Popeyes among others. By the end of the second quarter of this year, Pershing Square held 23.6 million shares of (NYSE: QSR) which have a worth of $1.5billion making up 14.25% of its portfolio.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:HLT)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 22

This is a famous hospitality chain that has its headquarters in the U.S. It’s mostly popular with the Hilton hotels. The company has thousands of properties in well over 100 countries. By the end of this year’s second quarter, Bill Ackman had 12.7 million shares with this company with a stake equating to $1.5 billion. That makes up about 14.25% of its portfolio.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 35

This is another American restaurant company with its headquarters in California. They are widely famous for their unique Mexican food. Pershing Square has acquired 1.08 million shares by the end of the second quarter, which has a worth of $1.6 billion and it amounts to 15.72% of its portfolio.

Agilent Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:A)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 39

This is a healthcare company that is into the backend of the sector by supplying equipment to laboratories. Its headquarters are in Santa Clara, California. Pershing Square had a share of 11.6 million which equates to $1.7 billion and that makes up 16.14% of its portfolio.

Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 63

This is the first on the list of Bill Ackman’s top stock pick. Lowe’s Company remains one of the oldest American companies that is based out of California. They offer products such as décor, paint, flooring for home improvement. Pershing Square had 10 million shares amounting to $1.9 billion by the end of the second quarter of this year. This makes up 18.36% of its portfolio.

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