In this clip from Robert Wolf’s 40-minute interview of William Ackman at the HedgeWorld East/PartnerConnect East event in Boston on Friday, Ackman discusses why he decided to go public about short selling Herbalife stock.
More interestingly, at least to me, toward the end of the clip Ackman says he was surprised by the personal animosity contained in the public back-and-forth. Ackman has notably been criticized for his Herbalife short by Carl Icahn, and the two got into a very public disagreement with each other on CNBC back in January.
Note Ackman’s use of the past tense when talking about the cooperative nature of the hedge fund industry.
“Now, did I think a group of hedge fund managers would take the other side of the trade and try to orchestrate a short squeeze? No. I didn’t think that. In fact, what I think is disappointing about that â€” again, it doesn’t bother me at all if someone takes the other side. Every investment we have there’s probably someone short â€¦ that’s how the markets workâ€¦. What’s sort of nice about the hedge fund industry is it was an industry where it was more a cooperative industry. I didn’t view my â€¦ people in the industry as competitors because we’d find value together, you know, ultimately you see partnerships in various investments. This was the first where [there was] a lot of sniping going on between managers which I think is just a negative for the industry.”
Here’s the entire clip.