Two of the investors of Pershing Square Capital Management want Bill Ackman to provide further details regarding its investments in the struggling department store chain J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP).
According to the report of Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Katya Wachtel of Reuters, the institutional investors plans to meet Ackman and asked him to provide more information about the portfolio of Pershing Square Capital Management and its long-term plan for the recovery of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP). The stock value of the department store chain was down by 21 percent this year.
The officials of the pension funds requested their identities not to be disclosed because they still have to set up a meeting with Ackman. The hedge fund, which owns 17.8 percent stake in J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) is believed to have lost approximately $500 million from its investment in the shares of the company.
The action of the Pershing Capital’s investors shows that they become more uncomfortable with Ackman’s large bet on the struggling department store chain.
Don Steinbrugge, managing partner at Agecroft Partners LLC opined, "People are reading a lot about Bill Ackman these days and have questions, and while these kind of hedge funds can't speak to everyone, keeping their very largest clients informed will have benefits.”
Last week, Reuters reported that York Capital and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) are shorting JC Penney’s debt. There were also speculations that JC Penney CEO, Ron Johnson will resign after he company reported a weaker-than-expected results in the fourth quarter of 2012. However, the company dismissed the rumors and emphasized that Johnson has no plans of leaving the company.
Aside from Pershing Capital’s investment in JC Penney, the investors are also concerned with the hedge fund’s $1 billion short position in Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF).
Ackman alleged that Herbalife is a pyramid scheme and predicted that the company will collapse. Yesterday, Ackman released a new presentation and compared the business model of the nutritional supplement company to Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing, which was prosecuted and declared as a pyramid scheme by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Based on estimates, Ackman’s current gain from his short position in Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) is around $200 million.
Meanwhile, several Pershing Square investors commented that they are happy with Ackman’s teams citing its current gains and track record over the past years.