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Bill Ackman Sells J.C. Penney, GGP, Buys Air Products

Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management filed its 13-F for the three months through September 2013 today. The filing showed that the managers long portfolio was worth $10.275 billion at the end of the quarter, down from $10.951 billion at the end of the second quarter of the year.

As an activist investor, Bill Ackman tends to hold few stocks. At the end of the third quarter Ackman held just six stocks in the portfolio: General Growth Properties Inc (GGP); Burger King Worldwide Inc (BKW); Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (CP); BEAM Inc (BEAM); Howard Hughes Corp (HHC) and The Procter & Gamble Company (PG).

Ackman sale of GGP

Pershing Square management decided to sell a significant amount of its holdings in General Growth Properties Inc (GGP) during the third quarter. The company’s holdings of GGP shares fell from 67,789,157 at the end of the second quarter to 35,681,182. That’s a sale of about 48% of the company’s total holdings in the third quarter.

Ackman also continued his sale of shares in The Procter & Gamble Company (PG) during the period. After selling 19,006,759 shares in the company in the second quarter, Ackman dropped his total holding to just 2,123,893 shares at the end of the third quarter. At the end of the second quarter Pershing held 8,940,133 shares in The Procter & Gamble Company (PG).

Ackman also sold about 1 million shares in Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (CP) in the third quarter, and rid himself of his entire 202,913 share stake in Matson, Inc. (MATX).

The only major buy that Ackman made during the third quarter was in Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. (APD) – the hedge fund manager ended the third quarter with 20,545,284 shares in the company, up from 10,095,708 at the end of the second quarter. That stake is worth close to $2.2 billion.

Ackman sells JC Penney

The one major change to the portfolio is already widely documented. During the third quarter Bill Ackman gave up on his campaign to change the way that J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (JCP) does business and sold his entire stake in the company. At the end of the second quarter Ackman had more than 39 million shares in the company.

Those shares were worth $667 million on June 30, but Ackman sold the stake for around $500 million in August. He took a hit of something in the region of $400 million on the failed campaign at the retailer. That campaign is one of the two most contentious that Ackman has been involved in this year. The other is his short of Herbalife Ltd. (HLF). 13-F filings do not include stocks sold short, and it would be unusual if Pershing was holding some of the stock long.

-By Paul Shea

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