iBankCoin
18 years in Wall Street, left after finding out it was all horseshit. Founder/ Master and Commander: iBankCoin, finance news and commentary from the future.
Joined Nov 10, 2007
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Is ‘Montauk’ Bill Ackman a Villain or a Hero?

‘Montauk’ Bill Ackman has a rich history of using media to propel his profits. While his actions are undoubtedly amoral, I find myself conflicted, purely from a traders point of view, if in fact he is the goat or just an asshole.

I was first alerted to Bill’s nefarious dealings in 2008, when he went on CNBC like a patron saint, pleading for Fannie Mae to be bankrupted, in order to save it. Truly hilarious.

Let’s not forget about his public spats with Icahn and Herbal Life, a battle he ended getting BOGGED down in and publicly humiliated for — at the hands of Carl ‘give me three seats on your board’ Icahn.

On the 18th of March, 2020, we all saw Bill warn America of impending doom — declaring Hilton would trade to zero — if the country wasn’t shut down foe 30 days. He went on a long diatribe about how fucked we all were, and reminded viewers that he was in fact long, very long, and only wanted the best for America.

“America will end as we know it. I’m sorry to say so, unless we take this option,” he told CNBC on March 18, five days before ending his bet against the market. “We need to shut it down now. … This is the only answer.”

But that wasn’t exactly true.

In fact, at the time when that aired on television, Bill was short via options. His strongly worded opinions were so grave, it literally caused circuit breakers to halt markets — sending markets down 7%. Just a few days later, on the 23rd, Bill closed out his notional bets and netted $2.6 billion in profits — a 100x trade.

Tucker Carlson took him to task tonight, but he got the trade wrong. Tucker thought Ackman made $2.6b via buying stocks cheaply, when in fact he was heavily SHORT at the time of his panic induced CNBC diatribes.

Your thoughts?

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17 comments

  1. mintdragon

    sure the SEC will be interested. personally can’t get passed Jon Stewart leveling Tucker on Crossfire several years ago… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GooQwKDMqcI

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  2. soonerxii

    should bubblevision face punishment for putting him on? the public will be crying for scalps…ackman and congress front-running.

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  3. metalleg

    Everyone on TeeVee talks their book. If people are stupid enough to follow what he says, they deserve what they get.

    Maybe immoral but who wouldn’t be for $2 billion?

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    • peaches

      You don’t get to have 2 billion unless you do something immoral. Like charge 20% of profits and 2% of capital when you know your clients would be better off not shorting Herbalife and dumping their money in brk.b shares. Wall Street is a fucked up machine. My economics professor told me kids are stupid because they go out into the real world thinking everyone’s behaving like life is Dodge ball in gym class…

      There’s no ref.

      Some winners are lying cheating steroid injecting immoral fucks.

      This is why Dalio operates from the woods and Buffet from a rusty town 1000 miles away.

      This is the way.

      What would Bill Ackman do with $500k and a Fidelity account?

      What would he do with $5k and a share builder account in 2010 with $9.95 commission in and out?

      He’d drown like Trump would drown trying to flip single family homes as a commission only real estate agent in Nowhereville, Ohio.

      Our society is controlled by people who have never been in fist fights and use the media and money around them… That isn’t theirs… To get by.

      If Bill Ackman was a working man he’d be putting fried chicken pieces into buckets for a living

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      • numbersgame

        For the rich, immorality is a grey area. Some of them actively use their money to corrupt the system so that it works well for them.

        The good guys don’t do this, but they still take advantage of it.

        Does anyone think that _insert rich good guy_ pays what taxes they feel are fair, or pays the minimum amount of taxes they can under the (corrupt) laws?

        Warren Buffet says that the tax laws are unfair becuase he pays “a lower tax rate than his secretary.” Still, just how hard do you think he lobbies behind Congressional closed doors (where it really counts) to support higher capital gains taxes?

        When the Democrats controlled the Senate, House, and Presidency, did they raise captial gains tax? Did they remove the hedge fund carried interest loop hole? Did they claw-back executive bonuses from bankers?

        Gee, I wonder why Trump and Bernie do so well running against the system.

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  4. heckler

    When he said he had a 12 Monkeys nightmare about the virus the night before it started I was like fuck the fag but I guess it was a baller move

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  5. firehorsecaper

    Ackman, Mike Tyson and I are all “Firehorses” (birth year 1966), many of which punch well above their weight, by all reports. A goodly portion if the world would question Ack’s motive when his base net worth was $1.3bln (pre unicorn tear appearance). I’m in the douche camp re: his decorum. @firehorsecaper Caleb Gibbons

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  6. indexjoe

    “I’ve never had an experience where someone has gone from being so aggressive on a bike to being so hopelessly unable to even turn the pedals…. His mind wrote a check that his body couldn’t cash.”

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  7. juice

    Ackman’s a hero to his family and investors, and a villian to envious traders. Focker played it perfectly. Kudos to him.

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  8. tha pirate

    Correction Cap’n:

    I believe it is “Three seats on your baWWWd”

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  9. numbersgame

    My thoughts are that Ackeram could have had the same thinking as I did:

    3/22: He only said stocks would soar ***if*** Trump shut doen the country (“Spring Break”), which Trump **didn’t do**. It was entirely consistent to be short-term bearish. The market was very fucked, because the coronavirus and Saudi oil moves triggerred systematic financial issues (beyond the unemployment econmic issues), so that the bond market was flatering, Junk being left in the dust and even “investmentt” grade not gettign a bid.

    3/23: The FED’s “Infinite Kash” moves were a desperate gamble in the long term, but would undoubtedly support the bond market in the short term and would fix short-term systematic issues -> market rally. I ditched my short bets in the AM (Monday) and went long mid-day, still surprised we didn’t have a strong Monday close.

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  10. purdy

    If Ackman got the people in charge to ask people to take precautions just one moment earlier than they otherwise would have, he was doing good work.

    However, the question is: If he had felt this way for some time, why did he only shout it when it was already too late for places like NYC? And/or why did MSM not highlight such voices earlier? Why was Tucker Carlson a lone voice of reason on the tube ..and Peggy Noonan in print? WTF?

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  11. purdy

    …and yes, one can now datamine for other concerned voices in print ..but the average person only responds when some tool on their favored MSM TV show tells them to ..and MSM TV all failed …as did our politicians.

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    • edge

      I never, ever listen to main stream financial news (financial entertainment). Nothing is more likely to cost you money.
      One thing politicians never fail at anymore is to dole out unlimited money to the rich people who expect the public to cover their losses.

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    • numbersgame

      Bears are hated, because “kill the messeger” and all, so its no wonder MSNBC, Fox, etc. only reports bear markets after they occur.

      Cable is news is a 100% trend following, lagging indicator. Not that i watched, but they were probably bearish on Monday.

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      • purdy

        Agree. But you know that there are non-fake-blonde, intelligent and connected people at the top of these networks.

        We knew, we yelled, we profited. They knew, they didn’t yell even though they had the platform …did they profit?

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  12. gizwyy45

    I am making 10,000 Dollar at home own laptop .Just do work online 4 to 6 hour proparly . so i make my family happy and u can do……..Here is I started,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,w­­­­­w­­­­­w­­­­­.­­­­­N­­­­­e­­­­­w­­­­­a­­­­­y­­­­­9­­­­­.­­­­­c­­­­­o­­­­­­­­­­m­­­­­

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