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Pershing Square acquires 12.2 percent stake in CP

After trading ended on Wall Street Oct. 28, Pershing Square Capital Management L.P. disclosed that it had purchased 20.6 million of Canadian Pacific’s shares, or a 12.2 percent stake in the Class I.

The investment company typically acquires stakes in companies it deems to be undervalued and then urges changes aimed at boosting shareholder returns, according to several analysts. During the past year, Pershing Square has purchased stakes of more than 10 percent in Fortune Brands Inc. and J.C. Penney Co.

After the company disclosed its stock purchase, several analysts posed theories about potential ownership changes at CP. For example, a Jefferies & Co. analyst issued a note suggesting BNSF Railway Co. owner Berkshire Hathaway Inc. might buy a major stake in the Class I.

However, CP officials have no direct comment about the Pershing Square purchase or related conjecture because “conversations with shareholders are private,” said CP spokesman Ed Greenberg in an email.

“CP's corporate policy is not to comment on rumors and accordingly [we don't] intend to comment further on speculation related to this,” he said.

The Class I is open to its shareholders' views and CP executives plan to speak with Pershing Square representatives to gather their input on the railroad’s operating plan, which already targets greater efficiency and improved service reliability, CP officials said in a statement issued over the weekend in response to employees’ questions about the stock purchase.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/1/2011