One of the most famous and most heavily scrutinized investors in the world, Bill Ackman has endured a dismal stretch that has seen his $8 billion hedge fund Pershing Square suffer three straight years of losses. That in turn has caused investors to take their money and run, as the fund’s assets under management have shrunk by over 50% since 2015.
The losses were made all the more humbling by their very public nature, particularly Ackman’s failed $1 billion short attempt of Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), which was partly chronicled in the documentary Betting on Zero. Earlier this year we shared how Ackman was planning to turn around his struggling fund, and why he felt Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) could be one of the stocks to help him do so. Nike didn’t last long in the billionaire’s portfolio however, being sold off in Q1.
In the third quarter, Ackman didn’t add any new long positions to his fund’s 13F portfolio, while only increasing the size of two of his existing holdings. On the other hand, he exited one position completely and sold off some shares of three other holdings. At the end of Q3, consumer discretionary stocks, which have long been Ackman’s favorites, had greater than 60% weighting in Pershing Square’s 13F portfolio.
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We shared Ackman’s Q3 Investor Letter earlier this quarter, including his thoughts on the status of each of his investments. On the next page we’ll look at how he was trading some of those companies during the third quarter.