Bill Ackman may not be a household name in the world of investing, but he should be. For starters, he became a billionaire through the successful management of hedge funds and by concentrating his bets into a small handful of opportunities he thinks will pay off big. This was the case with mall operator General Growth Properties (NYSE: GGP)
, one his most successful turnaround
stories, as he turned a $60 million investment into $1.1 billion, as I'll detail below.
Currently, Ackman is running Pershing Square Capital Management, a hedge fund that ended 2011 with a total market value of close to $8 billion. Ackman has been likened to billionaire investors such as Carl Icahn and Warren Buffett. He has striking similarities to Icahn in that he is more than willing to confront underperforming companies and agitate for change. In many instances, he has been successful in making changes that benefited not only his hedge fund investors, but also the shareholders of the public companies he targets. And like Buffett, he is willing to bet big on a hand full of undervalued stocks.
Below are three notable recent moves from Ackman's portfolio during the last quarter of 2011. You will be able find the trademarks moves of Icahn and Buffett, but also moves that are becoming unique to Ackman as he continues to distinguish himself is one of the "gurus to watch" on Wall Street.
Ackman's beef with Canadian Pacific
Ackman's largest position, at 21% of his portfolio, is currently in Canadian railroad operator Canadian Pacific Railway (NYSE: CP). He significantly increased his stake of 4 million shares from the end of the third quarter and now owns 24.2 million shares. This works out to a current market value of about $1.8 billion and around 14% of the entire company.