What is Bill Ackman's "Patriotic" Short Position?
Pershing Square Capital Management's Bill Ackman spoke at the New York Value Investing Congress yesterday. In addition to outlining his positive view on some of his hedge fund's holdings, including General Growth Properties (NYSE: GGP), J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP), and Proctor & Gamble (NYSE: PG), Ackman said that he had a new short position. While he wasn't prepared to reveal it at the conference, on Tuesday morning he said on CNBC's Squawk Box that it is a "patriotic position."
In fact, he said that "when this company goes out of business, the country will be better off."
Hmm...could it be a Too Big to Fail bank? While that is the first thing that may come to many patriotic Americans' minds, it almost certainly isn't the correct answer. Pershing Square has actually made investments in this sector, most notably in Citigroup (NYSE: C).
While Ackman's hints are certainly interesting, they don't leave much to go on.
First, it is hard to triangulate what his politics are, and this information would be quite useful. For example, some people might call a short position in a security company which engages in domestic spying a "patriotic" position, while others would say just the opposite. Maybe he is talking about some sort of predatory lending institution? Or could it be another bond insurer (he famously shorted MBIA) or a ratings agency?
In any event, we hope that Mr. Ackman reveals his newest position soon...
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