Contrary to previous expectations in the media and overall general opinion, billionaire Bill Ackman claims that he has no plans to begin going activist on European companies now that his firm has a direct presence in the continent. Pershing Square Capital Management held an initial public offering in Amsterdam earlier this month.
Ackman focuses on North America
Ackman reportedly told the Financial Times that he remains focused on North American companies and doesn’t currently intend on looking to Europe for more potential targets. The activist investor said he is still convinced that the best deals are in the U.S. rather than Europe. His view runs contrary to the views of many analysts, who think that many companies in the U.S. are overvalued when compared with their peers in Europe.
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He did stop just short of completely writing off launching any activist campaigns in Europe, however, telling the Financial Times, “Europe can be a good place for activism but it is not somewhere we are going to focus on.” He added that while they will focus on North America for now, they would turn to Europe or another international market if they “ran out of opportunities” in North America.
Activism on the rise in Europe
This year there have been signs that activist investing is on the rise and gaining momentum in Europe, so Ackman certainly wouldn’t be alone if he chose to target companies there. The billionaire did indicate that if he ever chooses to look outside U.S. borders , the U.K. would probably be his next market.
He cited the country’s corporate governance rules and also its cultural ties with the U.S. He also said that the Pershing Square brand already has a strong presence there.
Pershing Square Holdings dips in Amsterdam
Ackman’s Amsterdam-listed Pershing Square Holdings Ltd (AMS:PSH) saw its share price fall under its issue price during the first week it traded, The billionaire said he sees the fund as being an attractive way for investors to get into companies at the fund’s entry price.
He added that on average, the share prices of the companies his fund invests in has been 25%. As a result, he said there’s “a hidden amount of value in the fund already.” In addition, he said investors who put money into Pershing Square Holdings will be able to help his firm come up with new activist ideas going forward.