If you follow the stock market or the business news, you’ve seen two companies dominating the headlines this week: Herbalife and J.C. Penny. And while it might seem that these two companies have nothing in common, they are, in fact, connected by one thing — or more accurately, by one man. His name is Bill Ackman, and he’s a 44-year-old billionaire hedge fund titan who’s vowed to take down one company and save the other.
Other than making money, what is Ackman’s motivation? And how has this one man come to have so much influence, not just in Herbalife and J.C. Penny’s futures, but in the futures of companies ranging from Proctor and Gamble to the Canadian Pacific Railroad?
William D. Cohan profiles the influential and larger-than-life Bill Ackman in the newest issue of Vanity Fair.