Pershing Square Capital Finishes 2019 Up 58.1%

January 6, 2020 | Hedge Funds, Investments, News

The comeback is complete for Bill Ackman and Company. 

Pershing Square 2019 performance came in at 58.1%. The huge windfall comes after four straight years of losses.

That return was also double the return of the S&P 500. In a banner year for passive investors, Ackman showed that activist investing can work with the right formula.

Pershing Square 2019 Performance

Ackman recognized that his firm had underperformed over the last few years. Last April, while speaking at the 13D Active/Passive investor Summit, he laid out his philosophy for a rebound.

“To dig yourself out of a deep hole, make sure you make progress every day. Don’t look at the peak before. Just look up a few steps. Eventually, you’ll find yourself out of a hole,” he said.

Pershing Square benefited from a more concentrated portfolio. Chipotle Mexican Grill, for example, became a favorite of Ackman in recent years. Following a turnaround from a brutal PR problem and food-borne illness crisis – shares rallied more than 90% in 2019. Ackman had successfully taken board seeks, pressed for a new CEO, and help the firm engage in a turnaround.

Other investments have included Restaurant Brands International, Hilton. Lowe’s, and Starbucks. This summer, the firm also announced a large stake in Berkshire Hathaway. The firm also owns common and preferred shares in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

According to Institutional Investor, Pershing Square locked in about $60 million in performance fees in 2019 with the firm’s funds well beyond their high-water marks.

Related: Pershing Square 13-F: Ackman’s Hedge Fund Buys Agilent Technologies

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