Last Updated: June 4, 2024
Info
Category:
Richest BusinessRichest Billionaires
Net Worth:
$8 Billion
Birthdate:
May 11, 1966 (58 years old)
Birthplace:
New York
Gender:
Male
Profession:
Investor, Film Producer
Nationality:
United States of America
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What is Bill Ackman's Net Worth?

Bill Ackman is an American hedge fund manager and philanthropist who has a net worth of $8 billion. Also known as William Ackman, he earned his fortune as the founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management LP. Through Pershing, bill has launched a number of high-profile activist campaigns against companies including Wendy's and, most notoriously, Herbalife. Earlier in his career, Ackman co-founded the investment firm Gotham Partners.

In June 2023, Bill sold 10% of Pershing Square to a group of investors for $1.05 billion. At that valuation, Bill's stake in Pershing was worth $3.5 billion, which boosted his overall net worth to $8 billion. That wealth level made him one of the 500 richest people in the world for the first time in his life.

Early Life and Education

William Ackman was born on May 11, 1966 in Chappaqua, New York to Lawrence, the former chairman of the real estate financing firm Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group, and Ronnie. He is of Jewish ancestry. For his higher education, Ackman went to Harvard College, graduating magna cum laude with a degree in social studies in 1988. He went on to attend Harvard Business School, from which he earned his MBA in 1992.

Gotham Partners

After college, Ackman co-founded the investment firm Gotham Partners with his fellow Harvard alum David P. Berkowitz. The firm soon gained interest from investors, and by the late 90s had amassed $500 million in assets under management. However, by 2002, Gotham had become ensnared in litigation with a variety of external shareholders who owned an interest in companies in which Gotham invested. Later, during the 2007-08 financial crisis, Ackman made off with a huge profit by buying and selling credit default swaps against MBIA corporate debt.

Pershing Square Capital Management

Using over $50 million of his personal funds, Ackman founded the hedge fund management company Pershing Square Capital Management in 2004. The company went on to become very successful, reaching a lifetime gain of $11.6 billion by 2014. Pershing has bought significant shares in such companies as Wendy's, Target, General Growth Properties, JCPenney, Procter & Gamble, and Chipotle. It also purchased a 9% stake in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, which it ended up selling at a $4 billion loss when Valeant's drug price and operational controversies became public.

Among its other major investments, Pershing acquired around 10% of the share capital of Universal Music Group in 2021. The following year, Pershing bought a $1.1 billion stake in Netflix; however, it sold the entire stake after Netflix's stock fell by a drastic 35% in April. Pershing consequently lost over $430 million.

William Ackman Net Worth

Bill Ackman (Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images)

Herbalife Gamble

In late 2012, Ackman released a report criticizing the nutrition marketing corporation Herbalife for its business model, which he claimed was a pyramid scheme. As a result, Pershing sold $1 billion short the company's shares, causing the stock price of Herbalife to fall. In 2014, Ackman spent $50 million on an activist campaign against Herbalife with the aim of denting the company's stock price. Soon after, rival investor Carl Icahn placed essentially the exact opposite gamble on Herbalife, a $1 billion position that the company's share price would rise. This maneuver is also known as a "short squeeze."

Due to Ackman's persistent activist campaign, investigations into Herbalife were launched by the FTC and FBI in 2014. The next year, Ackman was investigated by both the FBI and the Manhattan US attorney's office. Herbalife and the FTC ultimately reached a settlement agreement in the summer of 2016.

His battle with the firm became the subject of the 2016 documentary film "Betting on Zero." In early 2018, Ackman withdrew his nearly $1 billion bet against Herbalife when the company's stock price continued rising. The Herbalife gamble ultimately resulted in a $500 million loss for Ackman.

Pershing Square Tontine Holdings

In 2020, Ackman took his blank check company Pershing Square Tontine Holdings public at a value of $4 billion; it was the largest SPAC to IPO in history. The company features a Tontine structure that involves the incentivization of shareholders to hold their shares through merger once an acquisition target is found.

Philanthropy

Beyond his business investments and financial management activities, Ackman has been substantially involved in philanthropic endeavors. He donated nearly $7 million to the Center for Jewish History, one of the largest individual gifts ever contributed to that institution. Ackman has also made numerous donations through his Pershing Square Foundation, which he co-founded in 2006 to support innovation in the areas of education, healthcare, and urban and economic development. The Foundation has been a significant donor to such initiatives and organizations as the Innocence Project, Centurion Ministries, and Planned Parenthood.

Personal Life

Bill Ackman married his first wife, landscape architect Karen Herskovitz, in 1994. They had three children together, and eventually divorced in 2018. Early the following year, Ackman married designer and MIT professor Neri Oxman, with whom he has a child.

Real Estate

In 2011 Bill paid $22 million for a waterfront estate in the Hamptons hamlet of Bridgehampton. In 2015 they paid $23.5 million for a nearby six-acre property.

In 2015 Bill paid $91.5 million for penthouse at NYC's One57 building, located at 157 W 57th street.

In 2018 Bill paid $22.5 million for the 13-room penthouse at the NYC building 6-16 West 77th Street. Technically four separate apartments that were combined across the 16th and 17th floors, the unit was owned by author Nancy Friday for four decades up to her death in 2017. Not long after buying the penthouse, Ackman submitted plans to the city that would allow him to build a two-level, glass box on the roof. In May 2022 he finally received approval. The city building commission received dozens of letters in support and in opposition.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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