Ackman’s Pershing Square Returns 25% in Strong Start to 2019

(Bloomberg) -- Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management is off to its strongest start to a year on record, reporting a roughly 25 percent return on its investments so far in 2019.

That represents a turnaround for Ackman’s activist fund in the early part of the year, after a 10.8 percent loss on its investments in December and a 0.7 percent decline for all of 2018. Pershing Square returned 24.7 percent on its investments this year through Feb. 12, according to a statement Wednesday. Last year, its annual returns were down 9.4 percent through Feb. 13.

Hedge Fund Research reported earlier this month that the industry gained 3.5 percent on a fund-weighted basis in January, the biggest monthly increase since September 2010.

Pershing Square Performance

Pershing Square Returns (%)S&P 500 Total Return Index (%)
2019 through Feb. 12 24.79.7

Pershing Square said in a separate presentation that the largest contributors to the gains were its investments in Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., Automatic Data Processing Inc., Starbucks Corp. and Lowe’s Cos., as well as its share-buyback program. The firm said its total assets under management grew to $7.93 billion, up from $6.45 billion at the end of December.

The firm had faced an exodus of institutional investors in its private funds in recent years after losses on its investments in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. and a bet against Herbalife Nutrition Ltd. About two-thirds of the capital that could be withdrawn was at the end of 2017. Ackman vowed to stem the losses at his firm by becoming a smaller, investment-centric organization.

Ackman’s Pershing Square Returns 25% in Strong Start to 2019

Ackman’s publicly traded Pershing Square Holdings Ltd., which is holding an investor day in London on Wednesday, separately announced it was implementing a quarterly dividend of 10 cents a share. The payout, which currently represents a 2.5 percent yield, is intended to expand the company’s investor base by attracting dividend-seeking shareholders, the company said.

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