Bill Ackman, CEO of Pershing Square Capital, spoke at a conference today in New Orleans, hosted by Tulane Law School. Ackman gave an interview, which we posted earlier today.
Reports at the conference confirmed that Ackman had a strong opinion on current SEC rules. According to current rules, investors must file a statement with the organization if they acquire more then a 5% stake within 10 days. The SEC is thinking about changing the rule to make the period far shorter than the 10 day limit.
According to reports, Ackman stated:
“If everyone knew what Warren Buffett was going to buy the day before he bought it, they would be better off.”
“But Warren Buffett wouldn’t buy it."
“In fact, Buffett’s moved away from operating in the public markets because he’s been followed so closely,” Ackman continued. “Mostly today he’s buying private companies and frankly I think that’s a loss for corporate America.”
“There’s very little harm to the markets associated with the people that miss out on our buying.”
“I literally get thank you notes from people who’s lives were changed because they bought General Growth at 60 cents or 50 cents.”
The SEC requires Buffett and investment managers like Ackman to publicly disclose any investments in equities within 45 days at the end of the quarter. Warrren Buffett is occasionally given a special waver by the SEC to not report cetain positions if he is attempting to accumulate shares in a company.
Ackman used this lopehole to acquire a massive 26% stake in JP Penny (JCP), in early 2010.
Ackman took a swipe at activist investor Carl Icahn, stating that he is a man for whom Ackman "has no respect."
Carl Icahn Responded to the criticism from Ackman with the following statement:
”Unlike Bill Ackman, I have no trouble concerning transparency and never did.
“There is much I could say about Bill Ackman, but I do not wish to get into a mud-slinging contest, even though it appears he does.
“However, there is one thing I will say: any criticism from Bill Ackman I consider a compliment.”
ValueWak has spoken to sources very close to Carl Icahn and Bill Ackman. The source told us that the two great investors have anything but a cordial relationship, and do not get along very well. Based on this information it is hardly surprising to see the statements from Icahn and Ackman attacking one another.