Pershing Square Profits From Fortune Brands Breakup

Dec 8 2010 | 3:22pm ET

Pershing Square Capital Management made more than $300 million today when Fortune Brands, in which the hedge fund owns an 11% stake, decided to split into three separate companies.

Fortune said it would spin off its golf—Titleist—and home goods—Moen faucets and Master Lock—businesses. The company will retain its spirits business, which owns Jim Beam bourbon and Sauza tequila, among others, at least until a hoped-for acquisition of the world's fourth-largest booze maker.

News of the breakup—and hopes for it in recent months, especially since Pershing Square bought its stake in October—have Fortune shares trading at about $62, well over the $45.88 that Pershing, on average, paid for its 16.7 million shares.

Unlike some of the activist's targets, Fortune said it had a good relationship with Ackman. The two sides "found much strategic common ground," the company said.


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