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Thoughts on Bill


doughishere
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Because I had to add my 2 cents.

 

 

Is it wrong for me to reserve my judgment on Bill Ackman? I get it he's from HBS he's brash young cocky and acts like he's a lot smarter than everyone else. Hes from "money" who is the king of the hill in the hedge fund business (at least now, there will be others) but seriously it's almost as if we all have to chime in on VRX(Guilty as charged) and revel in the "crashing" of his position.

 

 

Quite honestly, it seems to me that a lot of the "boo-ing" is coming from the cheap seats....and it's not just here it's all over. Every article I read is written to say how bad and how scummy he is(or at least it imply that, but maybe i read too much into them). I just watched a PSH thing on them making grants to cancer...but that's never discussed. Dare I say there's a tinge of jealously that he's trying to make the world better in his own way. Or maybe everyone is so jaded from their own lack of success in the markets it's good to see the biggest guy out their fail? I don't see Sorkin [insert journalist here] out there writing checks to Doctors who are trying to cure cancer.

 

How can you say he's a snake oil sales man when you don't don't do the work or at least try and connect the dots that he's laid out. At least Citron has some valid arguments. Shit there was some fund that did the same thing in releasing a short case against GGP when it was in bankruptcy. I remember reading the report thinking this other guy is gonna get crushed. He doesn't even know what hes up against. Commanders In the Army talk about various times in history when armies getting routed because they have bad Intel....all the time.

 

I went in on GGP a few years ago and right now it's paying for business school. I wouldn't be where I am right now if I didn't read his presentations and followed his work. I wouldn't be an value investor if he didn't "teach" me the beginnings of what to look for.

 

He gets things wrong but that's the nature of the business. Thats life. I just don't get the outrage. We don't rage against Seth Klarman or Marty Whitman or Tepper or [insert Top Value Guy Here]. If theres one thing this has taught me it's to keep your opinions and positions to yourself because if you speak up and talk your position then you have everyone, who's small time(dare I say) commenting when all they really know is some flashy news article. Shit....Michael Burry said this when he was up against his own investors on Subprime mortgages....we all know how well that turned out. The guys a god damned hero now complete with his own fucking movie.

 

500 years ago, no one believed Copernicus when he said the world was not the center of the universe. I'm not saying this apply to Bill exactly, after all he may be wrong at least on this account, but still I gatta think that maybe just maybe Bill has done the work and seen the retrograde of the other planets in or solar system and realized that somethings not exactly right with popular opinion.

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Guest Grey512

The reason people criticize Ackman is because he doubled down on VRX during a time when the reasonable response is to sit back and VERY CAREFULLY evaluate the situation. Instead it looks like his action was governed by emotion (such as embarrassment). I am trying to think of another famous value investor who behaved similarly in the last few years, and I am blanking.

 

To top it off, Ackman then goes off and signals to WSJ that Pearson should be fired. When the article comes out, Ackman - again - panics and issues a hasty public letter to VRX stating that he has confidence in Pearson.

 

What we are witnessing is an investor who is massively struggling to contain his emotions. I would not want that in a person managing my capital. I predict some institutions will be pulling capital from his funds.

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Guest Grey512

sometimes when a position goes against you the best thing to do is to take a week to hunker down, re-do the work and reevaluate. Issuing releases, hosting calls, overtrading, etc - are signs of panic.

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Posted without comment: from a 2003 NYTimes article.

 

(PS: having met Ackman and came away with a good impression, I think he's a fine person. His proclivity for PR, on the other hand,...)

 

How do you have a conversation with people who are un-willing to learn? I dont think you can attribute the PR problem completely to Bill. Ive laid out the thesis for my friends, some of which work in the financial industry as traders and market makers and are bright/successful individuals. Their own jaded opinions are keeping them back from making a killer trade. They missed because they were unwilling to learn.

 

The only thing stopping this is their unwillingness to learn (ive heard school teachers say this about their students)?

 

 

The rage scares the shit out of me. My advise to Bill would be to  tell him to go pick a beach somewhere,  bring your wife and drink pina colada for the rest of your days.

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sometimes when a position goes against you the best thing to do is to take a week to hunker down, re-do the work and reevaluate. Issuing releases, hosting calls, overtrading, etc - are signs of panic.

 

I think the "its best to wait for more fallout" is a precarious argument to begin with.....hindsight is always 20/20. And hes not the first value investor to catch the falling knife. I'm willing to bet even at one time WEB had that happen...Shit...even he says he held on to the hopes of BRK textile business will suddenly working for him.....but we dont lambaste WEB for that (ANYMORE).

 

 

By that logic im willing to bet that you would argued that hes an idiot if the position claimed 20% a week after he didnt buy. *

 

 

*Not trying to be mean but it think its a "thought expriment" worthy of consideration

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... Is it wrong for me to reserve my judgment on Bill Ackman?... .

 

... Quite honestly, it seems to me that a lot of the "boo-ing" is coming from the cheap seats....

 

... How can you say he's a snake oil sales man when you don't don't do the work or at least try and connect the dots that he's laid out. At least Citron has some valid arguments. ...

 

... 500 years ago, no one believed Copernicus when he said the world was not the center of the universe. I'm not saying this apply to Bill exactly, after all he may be wrong at least on this account, but still I gatta think that maybe just maybe Bill has done the work and seen the retrograde of the other planets in or solar system and realized that somethings not exactly right with popular opinion.

 

Wrong to reserve your judgement of Bill Ackman [i.e. in the VRX topic]: Certainly not as long it's based on conclusions [that might be subjective] based on facts. Such judgements are certainly of relevance related to the expected behavior of  the four major hedge funds positions.

 

A lot of the "boo-ing" is coming from the cheap seats : I'm not sure at all if this is a fact. Not many board members have posted their postions in VRX.

 

How can you say he's a snake oil sales man: In my opinion and to my judgement, few board members have done this in this VRX investment situation. Everybody knows he's a hedge fund manager with a material position in VRX for the fund.

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I think the "its best to wait for more fallout" is a precarious argument to begin with.....hindsight is always 20/20. And hes not the first value investor to catch the falling knife. I'm willing to bet even at one time WEB had that happen...Shit...even he says he held on to the hopes of BRK textile business will suddenly working for him.....but we dont lambaste WEB for that (ANYMORE).

 

Left to me I'm always having Max Olsons'  [board member : valuemax] blue BRK Letters to Shareholders 1965-2012 and the similar 50 year hardcover edition 1965-2014, together with the partnership letters on print.

 

I have read rumours about a special partnership letter which have never surfaced on the web... - Is it about BRK, salad oil & AMX or what? - Who knows? - if it exists?

 

- Back to William Ackman!

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... Is it wrong for me to reserve my judgment on Bill Ackman?... .

 

... Quite honestly, it seems to me that a lot of the "boo-ing" is coming from the cheap seats....

 

... How can you say he's a snake oil sales man when you don't don't do the work or at least try and connect the dots that he's laid out. At least Citron has some valid arguments. ...

 

... 500 years ago, no one believed Copernicus when he said the world was not the center of the universe. I'm not saying this apply to Bill exactly, after all he may be wrong at least on this account, but still I gatta think that maybe just maybe Bill has done the work and seen the retrograde of the other planets in or solar system and realized that somethings not exactly right with popular opinion.

 

Wrong to reserve your judgement of Bill Ackman [i.e. in the VRX topic]: Certainly not as long it's based on conclusions [that might be subjective] based on facts. Such judgements are certainly of relevance related to the expected behavior of  the four major hedge funds positions.

 

A lot of the "boo-ing" is coming from the cheap seats : I'm not sure at all if this is a fact. Not many board members have posted their postions in VRX.

 

How can you say he's a snake oil sales man: In my opinion and to my judgement, few board members have done this in this VRX investment situation. Everybody knows he's a hedge fund manager with a material position in VRX for the fund.

 

Yes. I totally agree your comments. Lot of members posting with comments with no insight on VRX (rephrasing same arguments by others) and

ACKMAN bashing. Most of them don't even have a position (Long or Short).

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@ sampr01, I'm not specifically trying to go after members of the board here....more of the general public, especially those in significant roles as journalists and such not. I guess thats always been happening but it just seems like a...I dont want to say larger.....but none the less an injustice.

 

I just think that its so easy to rail on him for the wrong reasons. As Michael Jordan said "I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying." If you're like Citron and do the work(at least it seams like they have done some quality thinking) and have disagreeing opinions than thats fine, He/she/they raise some important questions. I can have respect for that. I cant have respect for people who make up their minds then parade it around without trying dig into what actually being done. Basically, I cant stand the gossip.

 

Ohh well...if it wasn't for them I;d be out of business.

 

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I admire his conviction. Not talking about VRX, just in general. He's not always right of course, but he definitely has brass balls.

 

I kinda admire that also.....especially cuz i feel like he does the work necessary to get it done. I think the Jordan Quote I mention in the last post kinda sums up how I feel at least about VRX....even if it does truely go south and he has to take a loss on it.

 

If Pershing called(and they wont), Said hey doughishere how do you feel about working with us for rent/necessities only...id fly out tomorrow. Shit. I'd even be willing to pay for the ticket myself. With the caveat Pershing do what they do with out being immoral. I think theres a pretty good case for saying that they are not immoral, but you know i just want to hedge my bets on anything nice i say about them.  ;)

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What, no mention how he's under investigation for insider trading? or the shady way Gotham Partners ended? I'm probably just jealous. Who knows, maybe Bill is just ahead of his time (like Copernicus!) and in the future everyone will be able to front run hostile takeovers....

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/12/us-valeant-pharms-ackman-insidertrading-idUSKCN0T02EN20151112

 

"Plaintiffs must plead defendants knew they were in possession of material nonpublic information at the time of the trade and that they acted with the intent to deceive, manipulate, or defraud," Carter wrote. "Plaintiffs have alleged both elements."

 

 

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It's quite apparent to anyone that has watched him over the years that he has always been about making money first and morality second. Him trying to rationalize Valeant's aggressive price increases by going after Coke is amusing and unsurprising.

 

Companies raise prices for lots of reasons. Economists that are hired by BODs to come in and consult on setting prices. On everything from Ipods to cereal, Drugs to toothpaste. The list goes on and on.

 

There's a lot of though put into it.

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It's quite apparent to anyone that has watched him over the years that he has always been about making money first and morality second. Him trying to rationalize Valeant's aggressive price increases by going after Coke is amusing and unsurprising.

 

Companies raise prices for lots of reasons. Economists that are hired by BODs to come in and consult on setting prices. On everything from Ipods to cereal, Drugs to toothpaste. The list goes on and on.

 

There's a lot of though put into it.

 

It's legal for a firm to extract as much price as it's legally possible. Does that make it moral? Hardly.

 

This is especially the case in a monopoly. While pricing discretion in monopolies like utilities are restrained by regulators, it is far less so in pharmaceutical companies with patented drugs that have virtually 0 viable substitutes.

 

Here, you have a wide range of different choices. What Pearson et al likely missed is that egregious price hikes, while allowed under contemporary law, may not be so in the future.

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It's quite apparent to anyone that has watched him over the years that he has always been about making money first and morality second. Him trying to rationalize Valeant's aggressive price increases by going after Coke is amusing and unsurprising.

 

Companies raise prices for lots of reasons. Economists that are hired by BODs to come in and consult on setting prices. On everything from Ipods to cereal, Drugs to toothpaste. The list goes on and on.

 

There's a lot of though put into it.

 

It's legal for a firm to extract as much price as it's legally possible. Does that make it moral? Hardly.

 

This is especially the case in a monopoly. While pricing discretion in monopolies like utilities are restrained by regulators, it is far less so in pharmaceutical companies with patented drugs that have virtually 0 viable substitutes.

 

Here, you have a wide range of different choices. What Pearson et al likely missed is that egregious price hikes, while allowed under contemporary law, may not be so in the future.

 

 

 

Do you work for minimum wages at biotech or pharma industry? Do know how much it cost do basic research to come up with one drug. Do you know how much it cost to run small in vivo preclinical study. Biotech companies are not small software start ups. These companies capital intensive and even making their GMP drug for preclinical studies cost like million dollars. We are not talking human trials. If they don't charge enough for the drugs, no company will survive

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I don't like the way he does business. I'm fine with sharing your book and discussing findings (I think that's the point of this website), but doing that on a roadshow turns the whole thing into a circus. There also seems to be an increasing trend of short sellers interfering in company's underlying businesses. I'm fine with discussing the company's prospects, accounting, and anything financial related, but interfering with people's livelihoods and the ability of the company to actually do business takes it to another level. Bill's not alone in this. There was a fund that bought Ocwen's debt and called a default in an effort to profit from their short sale.  There are also a bunch of funds that short a stock while taking legal actions against the company's patents. 

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