Bill Ackman has moved from one big headline to another. The billionaire hedge fund manager and chief at Pershing Square Capital Management will reportedly sell off his stake in Nomad Foods (NOMD), according to FinAlternatives. Ackman was recently in the news for his proxy battle with payroll company Automatic Data Processing (ADP). Given the size of Ackman's portfolio, and the relative weight of his position in Nomad stock, this constitutes a major move that is likely to send ripples throughout the broader hedge fund and financial worlds.

From Largest Shareholder to Nothing

Pershing Square was previously the largest stakeholder in NOMD stock. The fund, which runs nearly $10 billion in assets under management, typically only invests in 8-12 positions at any given time, meaning that it tends to focus its investment in highly concentrated, sizable positions across a limited number of companies. The position in NOMD stock was worth about $470 million as of the close of the market on Wednesday, when NOMD was valued at $14.25 per share. Pershing held over 33 million shares of the food company's stock. Nomad and Pershing jointly announced a public secondary offering for Pershing's position, subject to market conditions. There is currently no assurance as to whether the sale will be completed, although Nomad will reportedly buy back $100 million of its own stock.

A Position Two Years in the Making

Pershing has reportedly invested in its current position in Nomad stock since 2015, and the investment was made through a SPAC. The investor initially paid about $10.50 per share for the position. This is crucial to Ackman's sale at this juncture, as the sale at the current price point means that Ackman will make money off of the deal. Ackman has recently seen a string of negative press for his business moves, most notably his investment in the pharmaceuticals company Valeant (VRX), which reportedly cost his firm millions of dollars per day.

There are other details which remain to be revealed regarding the sale of the NOMD stock. For example, it's unclear what the timeframe for the sale will be. Nonetheless, given Ackman's reputation as a vocal activist investor who tends to make news headlines for his every move, it's likely that Pershing Square will not keep the further details of this deal a secret for long.

Ackman has had a busy summer, with news breaking weeks ago that he would file with the SEC for the launch of two new funds. He has remained embroiled in a hotly-contested battle with ADP, which resulted in management of the payroll processer suggesting that the billionaire had threatened them with negative publicity for failing to agree to a deal.

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