The epic battle of hedge fund titans has intensified. It’s now Ackman vs. Soros.
On Friday, Bill Ackman filed a complaint with the SEC against George Soros’ hedge fund and other unidentified co-conspirators alleging that they broke insider trading laws, according to the New York Post’s Michelle Celarier.
Last week, CNBC’s Scott Wapner reported that Soros Fund Management had snapped up a large position in Herbalife, which is said to be one of the fund’s top three holdings. The stock surged on the news.
While the attention has been specifically on George Soros, the portfolio manager who lead the Herbalife investment at Soros Fund Management has been identified as Paul Sohn.
According to the Post’s report, Pershing Square was told that Sohn was telling other fund managers at “idea meetings” over the past month that Soros was amassing a Herbalife stake and that Soros would soon report a 5% stake in the company.
Herbalife, multi-level marketing firm that sells nutrition products, is the stock that Ackman, who runs $US12 billion Pershing Square Capital Management, is famously shorting.
Late last year, Ackman publicly declared that he’s shorting $US1 billion worth of Herbalife with a price target of $US0. Ackman believes the company is a “pyramid scheme” and that regulators, specifically the Federal Trade Commission, will be induced to investigate it.
Even though the stock has surged more than 50% since Ackman confirmed his short position, he said he has not covered a single share.
Not everyone has agreed with Ackman’s short and it has become the focal point of an epic clash of hedge fund billionaires.
Rival fund manager Daniel Loeb of Third Point, who used to be Ackman’s friend, purchased a sizeable Herbalife position. He exited his stake in the second quarter for a profit.
Ackman’s arch-nemesis Carl Icahn snapped up a massive stake in the company. Icahn said he thinks Ackman will be the victim of the “mother of all short squeezes.”
A number of smaller fund managers have piled on, too.
The most recent titan to join this epic clash has been Soros.
That has got to be an interesting elevator ride because Ackman and Soros both work in the same building at 888 Seventh Avenue.