March 1, 2018 / 1:52 AM / 2 months ago

Pershing Square Holdings plans $300 million buyback

(This Feb. 28 story corrects headline to say buyback not cash infusion)

William 'Bill' Ackman, CEO and Portfolio Manager of Pershing Square Capital Management, speaks during the Sohn Investment Conference in New York City, U.S., May 8, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

BOSTON (Reuters) - Pershing Square Holdings plans to buy back $300 million worth of its own shares, the company said on Wednesday after Dutch regulators threw up roadblocks that prevented billionaire investor William Ackman from making a tender offer himself.

In January, Ackman, who runs hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management, announced plans for a $300 million infusion into the publicly traded company, which is listed in Amsterdam and London.

The move was aimed at reducing the discount to the net asset value at which PSH’s public shares are currently trading.

Now the company itself not Ackman will be buying the shares.

“We believe that a tender offer made directly by the company is now appropriate in order to address the continuing imbalance between supply and demand for the public shares,” Anne Farlow, Pershing Square Holdings’ chair said in a statement.

After the tender is completed, Ackman and senior associates at his New York-based Pershing Square Capital Management would be able to buy shares in the open market.

Should he and others spend the $300 million they had initially earmarked in January, the total $600 million would represent more than 20 percent of the market capitalization of Pershing Square Holdings that is currently not owned by affiliates of the hedge fund.

Ackman listed the fund in Amsterdam four years ago as a way to create permanent capital for his hedge fund — investors can sell only if there is another buyer. This has helped stabilize capital at the $9 billion firm in the last years as investors, including pension funds, have pulled money out when the fund suffered double digit losses in 2015 and 2016.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Sandra Maler

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