They also disclose funds under management at Pershing Square (that is all assets under the strategy).
That last week has eight days.
However they were worse as per 29 September than 30 September. Valeant rose 12-13 percent that day. Valeant is Pershing Square's biggest holding. The vast bulk of the book moved in Pershing Square’s favour during the last day of the month.
A portfolio calculation is Appendix A. [Our estimate is a $777 million swing between the 29th and the 30th of September. The only position that is not disclosed is the size of the Herbalife short. We have a fairly accurate estimate of the size of this position but it does not matter much for this calculation.]
Pershing Square was - it seems - would normally have report a minus 16.6 percent number as a month to date number, but possibly in innocent error did not make this (rather shocking) disclosure.
There are plenty of stories in the press about Pershing Squares bad month (see here, here, here). I know that Pershing Square is a remarkably open institution. Mr Ackman is the king of the three hour press conference. It is unthinkable that he would not tell the world just how good their day was on the 30th of September.
So I will.
Pershing Square - my estimate - was down 16.6 percent month to date as per the 29th of September but had a miraculous day on the 30th of September and finished down a mere 12.5 percent.
The press reported about Pershing Square's terrible month but could have equally reported about their fantastic day. Without reporting the fantastic day I suspect the press is treating the Baby Buffett unfairly.
Weekly net asset value (“NAV”) is calculated as of the close of business on each Tuesday and posted on the following Thursday. In the event that Tuesday is not a business day, the Company will calculate the close-of-business NAV as of the business day immediately preceding that Tuesday. In the event that Wednesday or Thursday is not a business day, any such weekly NAV will be posted the next business day following that Thursday. End-of-month NAV is calculated as of the close of business on the last day of the month and will be posted within two business days thereafter. In the event that month-end falls on a Wednesday, the Company will report the month-end NAV on Thursday, and not report the weeklyTuesday NAV. In the event that Wednesday or Thursday is not a business day, any such month-end NAV will be posted the next business day following that Thursday...
And the photo:
This footnote, with its sloppy and atypical typo was almost certainly written by a junior. [As you will see the footnote has been modified within days of its appearance.]
But don't worry - we will report Pershing Square missing data point for you.
On our estimate Pershing Square month to date on 29 September 2019 was down 16.6%. For the month to date. And then in brilliance they had a great day and finished the month much better.
They had to muck around with the calendar not to report to you the wonderful day they had on the 30th of September. [A cynic might suggest they mucked around with the calendar to hide bad results - but Mr Ackman would not do that.]
More changing footnotes
I sent this material to the Financial Times. I copied it to Bill Ackman. I think it was also handed around fairly widely. Within a few hours of market open Pershing Square had released a press release about their new market disclosure rules. You can find a PDF version of that press release here.
The new rule was as follows:
Pershing Square Holdings, Ltd. has made two changes to its NAV reporting policies. Weekly and monthly NAV reporting will now be provided on a one-business-day lag rather than a two-business-day lag. For weeks that include a month-end NAV report, PSH will provide only month-end performance. As a result of the changes, investors will now receive more timely NAV reporting, but only one NAV report each week.Now the company will not report weekly results for weeks in during which the month ends.
The short-lived "if the month ends on a Wednesday" rule has gone and has been replaced by another footnote - the picture of which is here... The NAV page has also been reformatted.
The month end on a Wednesday rule was absurd. If there was no reason to give the data point for a Tuesday when the month ended on a Wednesday you could argue there was no reason for a Tuesday data point when the month ended on the Monday.
That suggests yet again they changed it on the spot so that they did not have to report the fantastic data on the 30th of September. [A cynic might suggest that they did it so they did not have to report an atrocious month-to-date data point on the 29th - however Bill Ackman would never risk being so needlessly deceptive.]
Whatever: the [Pershing Square] will not report a weekly number if the month ends on a Wednesday rule is now gone. They will no longer report weekly data in any week that a month ends.
This rule also has problems which indicate it was thought up on the fly. What for instance happens when the month end occurs on a Friday? Do they not provide any results that week (preferring instead to wait to the following Tuesday)?
Pershing Square changed its rules on the fly inventing and thinly disclosing an 8 day week to hide their wonderful performance on the 30th of September. The new rules are a confused and made up to support their modesty.
So we will report again. As of 29 September 2015, a date that Pershing would normally have reported, the funds were down 16.6 month to date. And they had a great day on the 30th.
Eight days a week
For the moment though Pershing Square thinks it is okay to - without prior notice - report on an eight day week. Sure they did it so they could modestly hide the fantastic performance on 30 September. But the motivation is not the issue here.
Having an eight day week opens Bill Ackman up for allegations of deception - allegations that Bill should neutralise immediately by reporting the interim data point as originally planned.
I would expect nothing less.
And just because eight day weeks are fun I should finish with a song for Bill Ackman.
As per the Beatles: "I ain't got nothing but love babe, eight days a week".
Here are the holdings and prices as we estimate them at Pershing Square. The holdings other than Mondalez and Herbalife are from the last quarterly form.
The Mondalez holding is from recent filings.
The Herbalife estimate (which does not matter much for this calculation) is from our own estimate. It does not matter for this calculation as the Herbalife price was almost entirely unchanged on 30 September.
It is clear that Pershing Square had truly miraculous performance on 30 September. A cynic would say the month-to-date that they did not disclose (the month to 29 September) was terrible. I prefer to think of 30 September as wonderful.
|Price 29 September
|Price 30 September
|Gain on 30 sep
|Platform Specialty Products
|Howard Hughes Corp