Lawrence Ackman, the former chairman of the real estate financing company Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group, and his wife Ronnie welcomed William Ackman into the world on May 11, 1966, in Chappaqua, New York. He is descended from Jews.
Ackman attended Harvard College for his undergraduate schooling, earning a magna cum laude degree in social studies there in 1988. He continued to Harvard Business School, graduating in 1992 with an MBA.
What Is Bill Ackman’s Net Worth?
American hedge fund manager and philanthropist Bill Ackman has a $3.4 billion net worth. He made his wealth as the founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management LP and is also known as William Ackman.
Bill has led many high-profile activist efforts through Pershing against businesses like Wendy’s and, most infamously, Herbalife. Ackman co-founded the investing company Gotham Partners earlier in his career.
After graduating from college, Ackman and fellow Harvard alum David P. Berkowitz co-founded the investing company Gotham Partners. Investor interest in the company quickly increased, and by the late 1990s, it was managing $500 million in assets.
Yet by 2002, Gotham had found itself embroiled in legal disputes with numerous outside shareholders who had stakes in the businesses in which Gotham had invested. Ackman later got off with a sizable profit by purchasing and selling credit default swaps against the corporate debt of MBIA during the financial crisis of 2007–2008.
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Pershing Square Capital Management
Ackman started the hedge fund management firm Pershing Square Capital Management in 2004 with more than $50 million of his own money. The business continued to grow and prosper, recording a lifetime gain of $11.6 billion by 2014.
Significant stakes in companies like Wendy’s, Target, General Growth Properties, JCPenney, Procter & Gamble, and Chipotle have been acquired by Pershing. Moreover, it bought a 9% investment in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, which it ultimately sold for a $4 billion loss after the company’s medication pricing and administrative scandals came to light.
Pershing bought almost 10% of Universal Music Group’s share capital among its other significant investments in 2021. The following year, Pershing invested $1.1 billion in Netflix, but it sold all of its shares after the company’s stock suffered a 35% decline in April. As a result, Pershing suffered a $430 million loss.
Ackman published a report in late 2012 condemning the nutrition marketing company Herbalife for its pyramid scheme-like business strategy. Due to Pershing’s $1 billion short sale of the company’s shares, Herbalife’s stock price dropped. Ackman invested $50 million in an activist campaign against Herbalife in 2014, intending to depress the stock price.
Soon after, rival investor Carl Icahn made almost the exact opposite bet on Herbalife, betting $1 billion that the stock would increase. A “brief squeeze” is another name for this technique.
The FTC and FBI initiated investigations against Herbalife in 2014 due to Ackman’s ongoing activism campaign. The FBI and the Manhattan US attorney’s office looked into Ackman’s activities the following year. In the summer of 2016, Herbalife and the FTC finally reached a settlement agreement.
The 2016 documentary “Betting on Zero” was based on his legal dispute with the company. When Herbalife’s shares continued to rise in early 2018, Ackman abandoned his almost $1 billion wager against the firm. Ackman ultimately lost $500 million due to the Herbalife investment.
Pershing Square Tontine Holdings
The largest SPAC to IPO in history, Ackman’s blank check company Pershing Square Tontine Holdings went public in 2020 with a $4 billion valuation. The business has a Tontine structure, which encourages stockholders to hold onto their shares through a merger once an acquisition target is identified.
How Much Real Estate Does Bill Ackman Own?
A waterfront house in the Hamptons town of Bridgehampton cost Bill $22 million in 2011. They spent $23.5 million in 2015 to purchase a six-acre property nearby.
Bill bought the penthouse in the One57 building in NYC, located at 157 West 57th Street, for $91.5 million in 2015.
— Bill Ackman (@BillAckman) July 19, 2017
The 13-room penthouse at the Manhattan building 6-16 West 77th Street cost Bill $22.5 million in 2018. The unit, which was technically four different apartments merged spanning the 16th and 17th floors, belonged to novelist Nancy Friday for 40 years until her passing in 2017.
Ackman applied for permission to construct a two-level glass box on the roof shortly after purchasing the penthouse and submitted his drawings to the city. He finally gained authorization in May 2022. Many letters in favor of and against the city building commission were received.
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