The great poet laureate Carl Icahn once said “if you want a friend on Wall Street, get dog.”
Wait, Icahn is not a poet. He’s a legendary corporate raider. He was, however, completely on point. On Wall Street there are two sides to every trade, and while things are not supposed to get personal, sometimes that’s inevitable.
And so it was on Thursday, when hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman called in to CNBC’s Halftime report to talk about Valeant Pharmaceuticals, a stock he has been riding down since October.
It was in October when short seller Andrew Left of Citron Research accused the company of accounting malfeasance. That, combined with government scrutiny over Valeant’s drug pricing practices, almost destroyed the company.
It’s hanging on for dear life now, but Ackman, who basically controls the company through the board sounds optimistic. He still believes the $30 billion debt laden company can survive without selling core assets.
The company has “$10 billion worth of stuff shareholders don’t even know about,” he said. “It could sell literally billions in assets without impacting the company.”
He also said that bankers are coming together, pitch decks are being made, and there’s going to be some action soon.
Left, on the other hand, went on CNBC on Wednesday and said that Valeant is a “zero.” That’s where the shade comes in here.
In response, Ackman said that Left is a “charismatic guy” who “never tells you what he does with his position.” He also pointed out that Left was short Valeant, then long, and now short again.
Honestly, watching from here at Business Insider we were impressed. We had no idea that Ackman was pretty good at throwing shade.
After that, Ackman turned on CNBC’s Scott Wapner. “You guys are doing a very good job helping him [Left] make money on his portfolio,” he said.
Ackman then started talking about another position in his portfolio, Mondelez, which almost merged with Hershey.
(We’re pretty good at shade over here too.)