#14. Bill Ackman

Unconventional Investment Strategies

Bill Ackman

Bill Ackman is a well-known American investor and hedge fund manager, who has made a name for himself with his unconventional investment strategies and successful deals.

Ackman is the founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, a New York-based hedge fund that manages over $13 billion in assets. His investment philosophy and strategies have gained widespread attention, and he is known for taking bold and often controversial bets on companies that he believes are undervalued.

Ackman’s investment strategies are driven by a deep understanding of the companies he invests in, as well as a willingness to take risks where others see only uncertainty. He has a reputation for being a meticulous and thorough researcher, and his investment decisions are based on a detailed analysis of a company’s financials, operations, and management team.



One of Ackman’s most famous deals was his investment in the pharmaceutical company Valeant. In 2014, Ackman’s Pershing Square invested $3.2 billion in Valeant, with the aim of making a significant profit from the company’s aggressive acquisition strategy. Valeant was known for acquiring other pharmaceutical companies and then dramatically increasing the prices of their drugs. Ackman saw an opportunity to profit from this strategy and made a bold bet on Valeant.

The investment paid off initially, with Valeant’s stock price soaring in the months following Pershing Square’s investment. However, the bet ultimately backfired, as Valeant’s acquisition strategy came under scrutiny and the company’s stock price plummeted. Ackman lost billions of dollars on the deal, but he has maintained that the investment was still a good decision at the time.

Ackman’s most successful investment, on the other hand, was his bet against the nutritional supplement company Herbalife. Ackman became convinced that Herbalife was a pyramid scheme and made a billion-dollar bet against the company’s stock. He publicly criticized the company and accused it of preying on vulnerable people with its business model.

The bet paid off for Ackman, as Herbalife’s stock price eventually dropped and he made a significant profit. However, the investment was also controversial, and Ackman faced criticism for his aggressive tactics and public statements about the company.



Ackman’s investment strategies are built around a few key principles. Firstly, he believes in taking big bets on a few select companies that he understands deeply. He has said that he would rather make a few large bets than many small ones, as this allows him to focus his attention and resources on a select few investments.

Secondly, Ackman is willing to take bold risks where others see only uncertainty. He has a reputation for investing in companies that are unpopular or undervalued, and he is not afraid to take a contrarian position. He has said that his approach is to “buy something when nobody likes it, and sell it when everybody loves it.”

Another important principle in Ackman’s investment strategy is activism. He is known for taking an active role in the companies he invests in, often pushing for changes in management or operations. This approach has led to some high-profile battles with companies, including Herbalife and Target, where Ackman pushed for changes in the company’s leadership.

Ackman’s investment philosophy is summed up by his famous quote: “We try to find a company where we can dramatically influence its future for the better.”



Aside from his investment success, Ackman is also known for his philanthropy and social activism. He is a vocal supporter of education reform and has donated millions of dollars to various causes, including charter schools and education initiatives.



In terms of little-known trivia about Ackman, it is interesting to note that he was actually born in New York, but spent several years of his childhood in Canada. He attended Harvard University and started his career as an analyst at the investment bank D. E. Shaw & Co. before founding Pershing Square Capital Management in 2004. Ackman is also a passionate tennis player and has participated in various charity tournaments, including the Rally Against Cancer event at the US Open.



Bill Ackman is a highly successful investor and hedge fund manager, known for his unconventional investment strategies and bold bets on companies that he believes are undervalued. His investment philosophy is built around a deep understanding of the companies he invests in, a willingness to take risks where others see only uncertainty, and a commitment to activism. While he has faced criticism and controversy for some of his investments and tactics, Ackman’s track record speaks for itself, and he remains a prominent figure in the world of finance and investing.

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