UPDATE 1-Ackman's Pershing Square has double-digit gains on year

Tue Dec 3, 2013 2:36pm EST
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By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

BOSTON Dec 3 (Reuters) - Hedge fund manager William Ackman posted fresh gains in November even as his big short position on Herbalife lost more money, leaving his fund with double-digit returns for the year.

Ackman's flagship Pershing Square L.P. fund earned 1.4 percent after fees last month, leaving the $12 billion fund up 10 percent for the year to date, according to an investor update sent to clients and seen by Reuters.

The gains were nowhere near as strong as October's blowout when Pershing Square climbed 7.9 percent. Ackman's returns last month also lagged the Standard & Poor's 500 index, which gained 2.8 percent.

Still the billionaire investor's bets on companies like Canadian Pacific Railway, which advanced in November, offset the additional losses sustained when Herbalife, which Ackman is betting will eventually fail, gained 7.5 percent last month. At the end of November, Ackman made another public presentation on Herbalife but the stock price went up, not down, after he spoke.

As an activist investor, Ackman makes big bets on a handful of companies, often trying to change management or corporate governance. In his client updates, he does not describe what helped or hurt performance during the month, but they are nonetheless closely watched in the investment world.

The update said his fund now has 11 long positions and two short positions. One of those is Herbalife but the other has not been disclosed, sparking plenty of speculation about what it might be. A spokeswoman for Ackman declined to comment.

Most hedge fund managers are still putting together their November numbers and Ackman is often among the first to report the information, which is private, to clients.   Continued...