We’ve read a copy of tomorrow’s Vanity Fair profile on billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, the CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management — and you’re definitely going to want to check it out.William Cohan’s profile is packed with juicy tidbits about the relationships between the players in the latest hedge fund war over Herbalife.
Herbalife, a multi-level marketing firm that sells nutritional supplements, is at the centre of a clash of hedge fund titans.
On the bearish side, Ackman’s Pershing Square is short-selling $1 billion worth of its shares with a price target of $0 because he believes it’s a pyramid scheme.
Meanwhile a number of hedge funders, including Ackman’s former friend Daniel Loeb of Third Point LLC and long-time rival Carl Icahn, have snapped up big long stakes.
Now some quotes from tomorrow’s big article:
ON WHY ACKMAN’S NO LONGER FRIENDS WITH GREENLIGHT’S DAVID EINHORN:
“David and I are friendly, but it’s like we were boyfriend and boyfriend, and then one day we were just friends, and now we’re just friendly,” Ackman says. “I have enormous respect for him. But as a result of that, I stopped calling him and he stopped calling me, so that’s why I didn’t talk to him” about Herbalife.
HEDGE FUNDER BOB CHAPMAN, WHO WENT LONG HERBALIFE AND IS KNOWN FOR HIS VITRIOLIC LETTERS TO COMPANIES, ON WHY OTHER HEDGE FUNDERS DISLIKE ACKMAN:
“The story I hear from everybody is that one can’t help but be intrigued by the guy, just because he’s somewhat larger than life, but then one realises he’s just pompous and arrogant and seems to have been born without a gene that perceives and measures risk.”
ACKMAN ON CHAPMAN:
“He’s a lunatic. And I think, by the way, that he’s proud to be a lunatic, and he’s even said as much, that it’s part of his strategy, as an activist to make the other side think you’re crazy.”
AN UNNAMED HEDGE FUNDER ALSO POINTS OUT HOW ACKMAN CAN OFFEND OTHERS:
“There is a saying in this business: ‘Often wrong, never in doubt.’ Ackman personifies it….He is very smart—but he lets you know it. And he combines that with this sort of noblesse oblige that lots of people find offensive—me, generally not. On top of that he is pointlessly, needlessly competitive every time he opens his mouth. Do you know about the cycling trip with Dan Loeb?”
ACKMAN CASUALLY REVEALS HE HAD SKIN CANCER:
Ackman also announced—on the spur of the moment, he says that he would donate $25 million to the Sohn foundation, which supports pediatric cancer care and research. “You know what?” he says he told Douglas Hirsch. “It’s time for me to do something for cancer.” He later explained to me, “By the way, I was diagnosed with skin cancer. Within a week of the event. Basal cell carcinoma, and I had it removed. You’ve got to see this scar.”
You definitely want to check out the full profile when it comes out. Check out the preview here >
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