Soros Fund Management has been withdrawing “several hundred million dollars from Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The New York-based Soros Fund, which is now a family office, has made several requests to redeem funds in the past few months. However, it is still unclear why Soros decided to withdraw money from Pershing Square.
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Soros Fund Management’s decision comes at a time when Bill Ackman is trying to raise billions of dollars in permanent capital. Ackman is engaged in two battles, and both seem to be moving against the activist investor. His big bet of $1 billion against nutritional supplements maker Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) hasn’t performed as expected but made Pershing Square $200 million in paper profits.
The hedge fund manager called Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) a pyramid scheme and said the company will eventually collapse. A formal investigation by Federal Trade Commission into the nutritional supplement company boosted his confidence. But soon other hedge fund giants like Carl Icahn and Dan Loeb began taking long positions in the company. Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) management and the Direct Marketing Association have openly defended the company’s business model.
Bill Ackman’s other big bet ,J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) is getting worse with each passing day. Ackman is the biggest shareholder of the company with 39.1 million shares or a 17.8 percent stake. Ackman hired Ron Johnson, the former chief of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s retail division, to change the company’s fortunes. Things turned so bad that Johnson had to admit in a conference call that his earlier strategies were failures.
The next setback for Bill Ackman came when Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE:VNO), his ally and the second largest shareholder of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) dumped 40 percent of its stake in the retailer after the company reported heavy fourth quarter losses.
Maybe Soros Fund Management thinks that Bill Ackman’s woes would continue in the future.