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Ackman's Pershing Square takes off coronavirus hedges: letter

[LONDON] Veteran investor Bill Ackman told clients on Wednesday that he had taken off credit market hedges and reinvested the money into new and existing stock holdings after turning "increasingly positive" on stock and credit markets.

Mr Ackman, who oversees Pershing Square Capital Management, initially took out the hedges - credit protection on investment grade and high yield credit indices - at the start of March as panic caused by coronavirus began cratering markets globally.

In a letter to investors in his listed fund, Pershing Square Holdings Ltd, Mr Ackman said subsequent market falls combined with steps taken by governments to limit the spread of the disease and federal and Treasury monetary support, had made him more positive on the outlook.

"We became increasingly positive on equity and credit markets last week, and began the process of unwinding our hedges and redeploying our capital in companies we love at bargain prices that are built to withstand this crisis, and which we believe will flourish long term," Mr Ackman said.

Mr Ackman said the fund completed its exit from the hedges on March 23, generating proceeds of US$2.6 billion, and had reinvested the money in existing holdings including Agilent, Berkshire Hathaway and Lowe's.

The fund also bought into several new holdings, including buying back in to Starbucks. After the investments, the fund had maintained a cash position of about 17 per cent of portfolio, he added.