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For hedge fund titans, the long and the short of it

October 14, 2010

Our latest special report profiles one of the more colorful figures in the hedge fund world — William Ackman. Wall Street Investigations editor Matthew Goldstein teamed up with funds correspondent Svea Herbst-Bayliss, who was in New York this week for the Value Investing Conference.

Here’s what Matt has to say about Ackman and one of his rivals.

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“Hedge fund managers William Ackman (left) and David Einhorn (right) are fairly good friends and sometimes they find themselves on the same side of a debate over a stock.

But Ackman and Einhorn, who were both featured speakers at this week’s Value Investing Conference in New York, appear to be at odds when it comes to finding opportunities from shorting, or betting against, stocks. Ackman says he doesn’t see many short opportunities in the market, while Einhorn is making a lot of noise with news his Greenlight Capital Management is shorting shares of real estate property developer St. Joe Co.

USA/Einhorn, who gained a lot fame and riches from shorting Lehman Brothers stock, used the conference to explain his rationale for why he thinks St. Joe’s stock is overpriced. Shares of St. Joe are down roughly 20 percent since Einhorn unveiled his short attack.

Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management, meanwhile, is going in an entirely different direction by sinking well over $1 billion in shares of retailer J.C. Penney’s and consumer goods manufacturer Fortune Brands. Ackman is sticking with his activist roots and believes both companies are undervalued and could rise if management takes steps to overhaul their businesses.

Despite the headlines generated by Einhorn’s short attack on St. Joe’s, it really was Ackman who was the star of the two-day conference in New York. After he finished speaking he was mobbed by the crowed and treated like a rock star. We call him Elvis—the Las Vegas version—in our Special Report: “What if Elvis ran a hedge fund.”

To read the story in multimedia PDF format, click here.

Comments

This is great, our team put together some really insightful data on Hedge Fund holdings in 3Q. We found a majority of hedge funds largest positions were shared amongst the hedge funds in our universe. AAPL was by far the most crowded position in the top 8 holdings for hedge funds: Greenlight, Lone Pine, Blue Ridge, and Tiger all have AAPL as the largest position in their holdings. Other large crowded positions include AMZN, GOOG, NWSA, MSFT, and WFC.
You can find the report here: http://www.streetofwalls.com/guides/free -hedge-fund-intelligence/

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