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Love Him or Hate Him, Ackman Now Runs the World’s Top Hedge Fund

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Lunch was a bit awkward. It was around 1 p.m. on a warm October day in New York. A group of Wall Street investors were tucking into chicken in a red-wine demi-glace and Brussels sprouts at the Plaza Hotel. They’d convened for Jim Grant’s fall conference, hosted by the influential editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer.

The lunch speaker was Marty Lipton, legendary lawyer and veteran defender of management in countless proxy battles, hostile takeovers and corporate raids. His talk, which he had titled “Activist Interventions and the Destruction of Long-Term Value,” took aim at a strategy being used with increasing success against his clients and other corporations.