by Alyssa Oursler | August 15, 2013 11:42 am
In case you weren’t sick of Bill Ackman already, we have more news from the hedge fund manager: his second-quarter holdings.
Pershing Square Capital Management just filed its 13F regulatory filing, and as should be no surprise, Ackman’s position in JCPenney (JCP) remained steady from the first quarter to the second, which ended June 30. As of the filing, he still held 39 million shares of the struggling retailer — good for title of largest shareholder.
Considering JCP’s brutal slide over the last year or so, though, that’s hardly a title anyone should want. According to the Wall Street Journal, Ackman’s stake has lost around half its value so far.
But largest shareholder might not be Ackman’s title for long. In case you missed it, Ackman demanded the resignation of JCPenney CEO Mike Ullman just last week — and the board was anything but happy. Ackman hasn’t just been a “persistent critic,” as The Guardian aptly put it, but also was a huge advocate of the hiring of Ron Johnson — the CEO who arguably pushed JCPenney into the ground.
In the aftermath of the squabble, Ackman stepped down from JCPenney’s board — and it remains to be seen whether his stake will soon dwindle as a result.
Pershing’s position in several other holdings didn’t change in the second quarter, including his positions in Beam Inc. (BEAM), Burger King Worldwide (BKW), Canadian Pacific Railroad (CP) and Howard Hughes (HHC). HHC was the strongest performer during Q2, soaring 34% during that time period.
One company that Ackman is newly bullish on is Air Products & Chemicals (APD) — a manufacturer of specialty gases that boasts year-to-date gains north of 20% and a dividend yielding 2.8%. In his 13F, Ackman disclosed approximately 10 million shares of the company — good for a 5% stake — but has kept buying since then. In late July, he revealed a 9.8% stake that makes him APD’s largest shareholder.
On the other side of the coin, Ackman also dropped his 6 million-share position in Kraft (KRFT) spinoff Mondelez (MDLZ), and dramatically decreased his stake in shipping company Matson (MATX). Pershing had more than 3 million shares at the end of the first quarter, but that dwindled to around 200,000 at the end Q2 — a decrease of more than 93%.
Of course, considering Ackman’s most notable recent calls — his optimism surrounding JCPenney and his short call on Herbalife (HLF) — have been ill-advised to say the least, one might take his sentiment as a contrarian indicator.
Matson has soared around 12% since the end of Q2 — almost three times the broader market — while InvestorPlace contributor Tim Melvin, along with distressed investor Wilbur Ross and private equity firms like Blackstone and Apollo, are all fans of the shipping industry.
Other changes in Pershing’s portfolio: Ackman increased his calls on Procter & Gamble (PG) — a jump from contracts covering less than 100,000 shares to more than 24 million — while his normal long position was a third of what it was at the end of Q1. Finally, he pared back his holding of real estate investment trust General Growth Properties (GGP) by 10% or so.
As of this writing, Alyssa Oursler did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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