Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Betting to Zero documentary hits Tribeca Film Festival

Betting on Zero - made by Ted Braun, a well-regarded documentary filmmaker ("Darfur Now"), it tracks the battle between Herbalife and Pershing Square Capital's Ackman, threading in the activist trader Carl Icahn (he has sided with Herbalife) and a number of lower-level Herbalife citizen sales people who say they've lost their life savings because they are overextended on the company's products.

Ackman argues that Herbalife's profits are reliant on sales people bringing in new vendors below them and that its protein-shake and other products are essentially a fig leaf, one that takes advantage of working-class people who sink a lot of money into the products with little hope of profiting.

The company has said it offers legitimate and beneficial health products and that Herbalife's army of millions of sales people around the world functions in the same manner as other such outfits, known as multi-level marketers.

The movie focuses on Ackman, who granted a large degree of access to Braun and his team. Herbalife declined to participate, prompting Braun to use archival material from its chairman and chief executive, Michael Johnson, among others.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Ackman invests $100K with 3 columbia grads

Hedge fund titan Bill Ackman has made an investment in three Columbia Business School. 

Bill Ackman held the final elimination round to his "Pershing Square Challenge," a three-month competition that was launched by the Pershing Square founder and CEO in 2008.

Each year, roughly 40 teams consisting of first- and second-year Columbia Business School students compete to present their best investment idea and thesis to Ackman and a panel of judges. This year's panel included billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson and CNBC "Fast Money's" own Karen Finerman. The grand prize for the winning team was $100,000.

The 2016 winning team was a trio of female students — Melody Li, Joanna Vu, and Thais Fernandes — who pitched a plan to boost the stock of Canadian convenience store giant Couche-Tard.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Canadian Pacific Railway ends Norfolk purchase proposal

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. ended efforts to buy Norfolk Southern Corp. after the U.S. carrier rejected several proposals and opposition mounted to the merger plan backed by investor Bill Ackman.

“With no clear path to a friendly merger at this time, we will turn all of our focus and energy to serving our customers and creating long term value for CP shareholders,” Canadian Pacific Chief Executive Officer Hunter Harrison said in a prepared statement Monday. The company said it had withdrawn a resolution asking Norfolk Southern shareholders to vote in favor of negotiations for a deal.

“No further financial offers or overtures to meet with the NS board of directors are planned at this time,” according to Canadian Pacific’s statement. Canadian Pacific has sought to acquire Norfolk Southern, the second-largest eastern U.S. railroad, to create a coast-to-coast network that it said would benefit shippers by reducing costs and congestion. Norfolk Southern rebuffed three offers, including one in December that valued the company at $27 billion, as “grossly inadequate,” while expressing concerns regulators would reject a tie-up.

The U.S. Justice Department on Friday said Canadian Pacific’s intention to create a voting trust to allow Harrison to run Norfolk Southern in advance of a takeover should be rejected. A day earlier, the U.S. Army voiced opposition to the deal and the trust, saying it could harm national defense for two companies with “potentially competing interests” to be managed as one.

Ackman, whose Pershing Square Capital Management is the second-largest shareholder of Canadian Pacific, with a 9.1 percent stake, had advocated for the merger during conference calls with analysts and investors.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Orange Peel Investment believes in Bill Ackman and Valeant

Orange Peel Investments believes that Valeant stock has a higher chance of going up rather than clocking new lows. 

Bill Ackman placing himself in Valeant Pharmaceutical’s board is an indication he is not planning to turn his back on it anytime soon. Given his activist’s status, he is likely to do everything in his powers to reinvigorate the company’s prospects. 

Valeant finally has some breathing room as it continues to work on its turnaround plan. Having already sorted out its distribution channel for drugs, the company should be able to generate some sales even as it continues to face pricing pressures. Reaching an agreement with lenders also helps affirm sentiments that the worst could be behind.

With Ackman on board, Orange Peel Investments believes Valeant Pharmaceuticals will be able to generate returns of 50% to 100% for shareholders.