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Ackman defends Pershing Square's financial strength

It's been a tough week for billionaire investor Bill Ackman, and longtime investors are debating the health of his firm, Pershing Square.

News that Ackman sold down his Mondelez position by 20 million shares on Wednesday night, just a day after losing $1 billion dollars on paper in Valeant, raised a flurry of new questions. His fund is down 9 percent this week and 26 percent year-to-date. Pershing Square's value has also declined 47-percent from its high reached just back in July of last year.

On Thursday, Standard and Poor's placed Pershing Square Holdings' "BBB" issuer credit and senior unsecured debt ratings on watch negative. The agency cited the firm's drop in net asset value, "largely because of a precipitous decline" in Valeant shares.

In a letter to investors on Wednesday night, Ackman said the Mondelez sale was for "rebalancing," as the position grew outsized, compared to other holdings, like that of Valeant, which have dropped in value. That sparked wild speculation about whether Ackman might have gotten a margin call, or something else.

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