January 30, 2015 / 1:05 PM / 5 years ago

Ackman to invest in Clearfield Capital hedge fund - source

BOSTON, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Hedge fund mogul William Ackman is ready to make a new bet, not on a stock this time but a startup hedge fund, Clearfield Capital Management.

Ackman, who runs $18 billion Pershing Square Capital Management, told investors on Thursday he plans to make his biggest ever commitment to an outside hedge fund.

“He is worth a very close look,” Ackman said at his firm’s annual investor dinner at the New York Public Library on Thursday, according to a person who attended the event.

He also said his personal investment in Clearfield would be the largest he has made in any hedge fund, apart from his own, according to the source. He did not disclose the amount.

Ackman’s hedge fund was ranked among last year’s best performers with a 38 percent return.

Clearfield, a special situations hedge fund that will focus on long/short equity and event-driven investments, will be run by Philip Hilal, a veteran of big hedge fund Kingdon Capital, and expects to begin trading in the first half of 2015.

Hilal is the latest in a string of seasoned investment managers to leave established firms to start the next generation of hedge funds at a time when pension funds and other institutional investors look to find new star managers.

Ackman has put his personal money with only three other hedge funds, all start-ups, but this will mark the first time he is locking up his money for five years.

Ackman and Hilal have known each other for more than two decades and Ackman said he tried to hire Hilal to work at Pershing Square Capital Management years ago. “(Philip Hilal) has had an excellent career in the investment world,” Ackman told investors.

A year ago Hilal pitched Energy Transfer Equity LP as his best idea at an industry conference, forecasting its price should climb 50 percent. It hit the target within four months. (Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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