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Hedge Funds, Baseball, Aliens: How Ackman Trumped Einhorn ... Again

What does this have to do with baseball and aliens?

Howard Hughes Corp. (HHC) is in talks to buy the Las Vegas 51s (Area 51 and aliens go hand-in-hand), the New York Mets AAA minor league affiliate. Ackman, of course, is chairman of Howard Hughes, after having successfully engineered the spinoff of the real estate development company in 2010, after General Growth Properties (GGP) emerged from bankruptcy.

A statement provided by Jim Gemma, media relations director for the Las Vegas 51s franchise, noted Howard Hughes' heavy involvement with trying to purchase the club:

"The Howard Hughes Corporation is working, along with partner Steve Mack, to acquire the Las Vegas 51s Triple-A baseball club. Concurrently we are collaborating with a number of other parties, including the LVCVA, the City of Las Vegas, Clark County, and the Pacific Coast League to plan, finance and build a new state-of-the-art baseball stadium in Summerlin.

The cooperation of all of these entities is critical to the success of this project, and that success will provide benefits for the entire community as well as the parties involved.

If our efforts in this complicated transaction succeed, families not just in Summerlin but across the valley will have a wonderful new venue in which to enjoy affordable professional baseball."

It's pretty ironic, and perhaps a tad bit sad, that Ackman (through his chairmanship of Howard Hughes) is trumping his old pal Einhorn when it comes to owning a baseball team. Yes, owning a minor league team through your chairmanship of a publicly traded real estate development company isn't the same as owning a large stake in one of the National League's most storied franchises. I get that.

I just think it's pretty sad, that Einhorn, who grew up in Milwaukee playing baseball near Commissioner Bud Selig's house, gets the short end of the proverbial stick in this.

I guess it really is "One, two, three strikes you're out..."

--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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