Sickens customers in Virginia
A Norovirus outbreak at a Chipotle in Virginia hasn’t stopped Bill Ackman, the company’s largest shareholder, from stopping in for lunch.
In his first tweet ever to some 7,000 followers, the billionaire shared a photo of himself waiting to eat “our own cooking.” He reportedly ordered a lettuce bowl with light rice, vegetables, guacamole, chorizo, and chicken at a midtown New York City location.
He also tweeted about Savor.Wavs, a new collaboration between Chipotle and hip-hop artist RZA. The website allows users to compose their own music based on Chipotle ingredients.
That tweet comes after Ackman, who is also the CEO of Pershing Square, ate up as much as $73 million in losses on his Chipotle investment over the course of 24 hours. The value of Ackman’s now $1.1 billion stake started to fall Tuesday, as investors worried that the news of sickened Chipotle customers in Sterling, Va., would dissuade other consumers from visiting the Mexican food chain.
That would only add to the chain’s food safety woes. Chipotle is still recovering from an E.Coli outbreak in 2015. Since then, the company has offered several promotions, including free food and discounts, in an effort to win its customers back.
Chipotle stock is down nearly 50% since before the crisis.
That said, Ackman’s own reputation has been tarnished due to some bad high profile bets. For example, in 2016, Pershing Square recorded losses of 13.5% largely thanks to its high-profile position in pharmaceutical company, Valeant.
“We deeply regret this mistake… which has damaged the record of success of our firm,” Ackman later wrote of Valeant in the Pershing Square’s 2016 annual shareholder letter. Ackman exited the stock, which was once his largest holdings, in March.
Still, Ackman’s fund is down 2.3% based on its most recent disclosure thanks in part to another high-profile bet on Herbalife. Shares of that company have risen nearly 50% year-to-date—but Ackman has been betting against the stock.
Chipotle has the potential to sway Ackman’s portfolio. Ackman first invested in the company starting in September, saying Chipotle was undervalued. Now it is his second largest holding behind Restaurant Brands International, according to Pershing Square’s most recent filing. Shares of Chipotle are down roughly 10% since Ackman first revealed his stake in the company.