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Bill Ackman Just Had a Really Lousy Year

Key Speakers At The Bloomberg Markets Most Influential SummitKey Speakers At The Bloomberg Markets Most Influential Summit
Bill Ackman, founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital ManagementPhotograph by Chris Goodney — Bloomberg

Billionaire investor Bill Ackman‘s Pershing Square Holdings hedge fund ended 2015 with a 20.5% loss after Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX), a top holding, was battered in the second half of the year.

The fund, one of several portfolios run by the firm, ended December nearly flat with a 0.3% gain for the month, Pershing Square, one of the industry’s most closely watched hedge funds, told investors in an update.

News of the sharp drop wasn’t a surprise since Ackman told investors two weeks ago that the year would likely end up being the worst in the firm’s 11 year history. But it illustrates just how volatile the activist investor’s returns can be after he scored a 40% gain in 2014 when he ranked among the industry’s best performers.

Valeant was once one of Wall Street’s hottest stocks, but last year allegations surfaced that the pharmaceutical’s success may have been built on price gouging, fraud, and maintaining a secret network of specialty pharmacies.