NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Shares of FedEx ( FDX) closed Tuesday at $103.15, up 4.4% after rising more than 7% at one point on speculation Bill Ackman, hedge fund manager of Pershing Square, was looking to make a sizable investment in the shipping giant.It has not been confirmed that Ackman is interested in FedEx, but a Reuters report detailed an investment worth as much as $1 billion that may be going somewhere. With past successes including McDonald's ( MCD) and Proctor & Gamble ( PG), Ackman has an excellent record of picking winners. In the case of FedEx, investors are looking to skate to where they think the puck may be going next. From my vantage point, though, FedEx was a buy with or without Ackman, even though investors were sour on FedEx's fourth-quarter results. The Street didn't believe it was good enough, sending the stock down 8%, which also yielded several downgrades. As I've discussed recently, it was an overreaction. The company is going through a period of transition. I'm not going to make excuses for weak profits or try to pretend that shipping volumes have not been an issue. But the company needed time to allow management to execute its plan. Contrary to what many analysts believe, there were very few surprises in the report. The company's freight business has struggled for some time, with the express and ground businesses picking up the slack. This quarter was no different. Nor did management pretend that it was an excellent quarter.
I'll talk about this more in a couple of weeks as we'll have a better viewpoint when UPS ( UPS) reports results for its second quarter. But just from looking at UPS' April quarter, freight grew just 1%, while profits were down $23 million. Likewise, I don't believe it's accurate to suggest that FedEx is being outperformed by YRC Worldwide ( YRCW), which also saw 4.5% revenue decline in its freight business in its May quarter. In terms of profitability, FedEx delivered. Adjusted earnings-per-share advanced 7% year over year to $2.13, which was enough to beat expectations. I don't believe that the Street has given management enough credit growing free cash flow (FCF) by close to 60% due to aggressive cost controls. While I've once criticized this company for not producing enough FCF, this time management delivered. remain too high. While management is battling sentiment to keep those expectations in check, FedEx's long-term commitment to better performance shouldn't be overlooked. Let's not also forget that aside from internal reorganization projects, there are also global economic challenges that are outside of management's control. As noted, FedEx is not the only company that is experiencing weak shipping volumes. With that in mind, I believe that investors should remain patient and allow management to execute its long-term strategy and produce value. But regardless of what the Street may believe, it's not going to be an "overnight" delivery. At the time of publication, the author held no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Follow @saintssense This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.