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Ackman’s Pershing Sells Remainder of General Growth Stock

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Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Bill Ackman, the activist hedge-fund manager, sold all of his shares in General Growth Properties Inc., one of his most profitable investments.

General Growth, the second-largest U.S. shopping mall owner, bought back about 28 million shares from Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management LP for $556 million, the company said today in a statement. The hedge-fund firm, which had sold 25 million shares for $500 million in September, no longer holds any stock, the landlord said.

Ackman helped rescue General Growth from near-collapse by pushing it to file for bankruptcy in 2009, and was part of an investor group in its subsequent restructuring. The effort “turned $60 million into $1.6 billion,” the hedge-fund manager told Bloomberg News in 2011, and contributed to his flagship fund’s net return of 29 percent in 2010.

General Growth has “definitely cut with the past as far as the whole bankruptcy process,” Alexander Goldfarb, an analyst with Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP in New York, said in an interview. Ackman’s exit “shows how the company has come back into its own.”

Carolyn Sargent, a spokeswoman for Pershing Square at Rubenstein Associates Inc., didn’t immediately have a comment.

General Growth shares have climbed 3.2 percent in the past 12 months and are up about 60 percent since the company’s 2010 exit from bankruptcy.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Louis in Chicago at blouis1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.net

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