William Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management
Most of press surrounding Pershing Square Capital Management's William Ackman centers on the hedge funder's muddled turnaround bet on struggling retailer J.C. Penney (JCP - Get Report); however, quietly, 2012 turned out to be a banner year for other investments such as Canadian Pacific (CP) and General Growth Properties (GGP).
Meanwhile, after pushing the likes of Wendy's (WEN) and McDonalds (MCD) to embrace franchising and a much less risky balance sheet, the sometimes activist investor teamed up on a takeover and IPO of Burger King Worldwide (BKW), which has performed strongly.
While, Ackman's array of skills mirrors the hostile, restructuring and M&A plays that Carl Icahn's been known to make, he nevertheless has a long-term value investing style that is of the Warren Buffett mold. Still, Ackman's been known to criticize the takeover premium that Buffett oftentimes pays to put a company within Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio.Were Buffett or Icahn to hit retirement, Ackman may be a helpful proxy on the investing zeitgeist. General Growth, Ackman's best investment in recent years, was a distressed real estate deal made at the nadir of the financial crisis. Burger King and J.C. Penney meanwhile are a mix of retail turnaround investments, with a side of real estate as well. With a recent hostile push at Procter & Gamble (PG), Ackman's set his sights on a Buffett-like consumer products giant and winning board seats on Canadian Pacific - one of the largest corporations in Canada - signals the hedge funder's clout. Look to Ackman to wield an array of investing strategies similar to Carl Icahn, while having the Buffett-like ability to find a good bargain in any market.