Bill Ackman Turns Heat On PepsiCo, Coca-Cola But Warren Buffett Fan Points Finger Back: What About Pershing's Own Top 4 Holdings?

Zinger Key Points
  • PepsiCo and Coca-Cola aren't acting with social responsibility, Pershing Square's Bill Ackman says.
  • He took exception to these companies not advertising about the real impact of their beverages on health and quashing any criticism.

Pershing Square’s Bill Ackman took to Twitter on Monday to slam PepsiCo PEP and Coca-Cola Inc. KO only to be pointed to that his hedge fund’s top holdings distribute the products of these companies.

What Happened: Ackman said he is more concerned about the advertising of Pepsi and Coca-Cola, non-disclosures regarding the health impact of their products and their buying off of critics.

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The harm is invariably borne by less health-aware consumers, who are disproportionately kids or people from low-income groups, he said.

In a threaded tweet, he went on to say that Pepsi and Coca-Cola have caused more harm to global health than any other company, citing the correlation between diabetes/obesity and soft drink consumption. He also rued that plaintiffs’ lawyers have not won a massive judgment against these companies.

On the other hand, these companies have not contributed to healthcare costs, he said, pointing to a lack of investment of their profits into developing a truly biodegradable bottle.

“In reality, neither company is as profitable as their public filings suggest because the real costs, if they were properly burdened with their negative externalities, are much, much higher than reported,” Ackman said.

“The problem is that society, rather than Coke and Pepsi, bears these costs,” he added.

Ackman Called Out For Hypocrisy: Responding to Ackman’s rant, Christopher Bloomstran, the chief investment officer of Semper Augustus Investments, noted that the bulk of Pershing’s holding companies sell products of both PepsiCo and Coca-Cola.

Sharing a screenshot of Pershing’s 13F filings, he said, “Top four holdings. 78% all sell @CocaCola and @PepsiCo products.”

The top four holdings included home improvement retailer Lowe’s Companies Inc. LOWChipotle Mexican Grill Inc. CMG, Restaurant Brands International Inc. QSR and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. HLT.

Bloomstran is a fan of Warren Buffett's school of investing and has spoken about the billionaire investor’s ingenuity in podcasts and conferences. Incidentally, Coca-Cola is Buffett-owned Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s BRKA BRKB fourth-largest holding, accounting for 8% of invested assets.

Read Next: Want To Dine With Bill Ackman? You'll Have To Shell Out At Least This Much To Win

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