Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman is hosting a quarterly conference call for Pershing Square Holdings.
“Obviously it’s been an interesting period, interesting in a negative way,” Ackman began the call.
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Pershing Square Holdings, the publicly traded vehicle, was down 19% year to date through the end of October, according to a performance update. The fund fell 7.3% in October.
Ackman had gone into August up just over 10%. The fund erased all of its gains for the year during that period of volatility.
“I think there’s been a bit of what I would describe as a bit of people betting against Pershing Square. You know, the assumption that as the result of recent events that we would be forced to dump various investments. And you’ve seen an underperformance in a number of our particular, less liquid positions, with the expectation might be that we’ll be forced to sell shares.”
Ackman noted that they have a large base of permanent capital.
Most of the losses have come from Ackman’s big bet on Valeant Pharmaceuticals, his fund’s largest holding.
On October 30, Ackman spent nearly four hours hosting a call defending his Valeant investment.
Big bet on Valeant
Ackman has lost more than $US2 billion on paper after Citron Research, a short-selling firm led by Andrew Left, issued a report two weeks ago asking if the company was running an Enron-like fraud. The stock had already been under pressure after the company was scrutinised for raising the prices for two acquired drugs.
The Citron report, though, focused on Valeant’s relationship with Philidor, a specialty pharmacy. Citron has accused Valeant of using Philidor to book “phantom sales.”
Valeant has denied those allegations and said it will sever all ties with Philidor.
Ackman said that he expects that Valeant will have to deal with negative press reports and scrutiny from regulators and politicians in the next several months. He also expects that investigations will conclude in four years.
Ackman has said that he thinks the stock is “tremendously undervalued” and that it has an “89% upside.” He added that investors are forgetting the “rest of Valeant’s business.”
Other portfolio holdings that Pershing held that fell in October include Platform Specialty Products and Canadian Pacific.
Herbalife, whose stock Ackman has been short for nearly three years, rose in October. Herbalife’s stock is up 50% year-to-date.
Meanwhile, Mondelez, Restaurant Brands International, Howard Hughes, and Zoetis all climbed in October.
Pershing Square was the best-performing hedge fund in 2014, gaining just over 40%.