Ackmann Backtracks, Backs Ceridian Sale

Aug 14 2007 | 3:21pm ET

Peace has broken out between hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management and Ceridian Corp., thanks to the market turmoil. Pershing Square’s William Ackmann, after railing against the proposed sale price of the company, has had second thoughts.

“At the time Ceridian announced the merger, we believed that $36 per share was inadequate, and we therefore began to pursue alternatives,” Ackmann wrote in a letter to Ceridian shareholders. “Since that time, significant deterioration in the credit and broader markets has made other alternatives less viable and $36 per share more attractive.” Ackmann said Pershing Square would vote its shares—the New York hedge fund owns a 14.9% stake in Minneapolis-based Ceridian—in favor of the merger.

But lest anyone think there was love lost between Ackmann and Ceridian management, the letter urges fellow shareholders to vote in for Pershing Square’s board nominees. “The conditions that in our view make the $36 per share transaction the best alternative for all stockholders also increase the chances, however unlikely, that the transaction may not close,” Ackmann wrote.

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