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March 25, 201910:02pmUpdatedMarch 25, 2019 10:32pm

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After four consecutive years of losses, Bill Ackmans slimmed-down Pershing Square is feasting in 2019.

The hedge fund is up 31.9 percent this year marking its best start to a year in its 15-year history with its stake in Chipotle soaring 60 percent in 2019.

The fast-casual restaurant is helping Ackman more than double the S&P 500 return, which is up 13.5 percent over the same period, the fund revealed in an investor letter Monday.

Pershings early 2019 gains come after the $8 billion hedge fund spent much of 2018 looking inward, focusing more on investing than fundraising.

This has freed up substantial time and renewed focus, which have enabled me and the other members of the investment team to invest nearly all of our business time and attention on the identification, monitoring and oversight of our portfolio companies, Ackman wrote.

Roughly three quarters of the firms assets are in Pershings publicly traded vehicle, which pays a 10-cent quarterly dividend.

Ackmans fund has been bruised by a disastrous investment in Valeant Pharmaceuticals and a $1 billion short against Herbalife.

Pershing shed 20.5 percent in 2015 and saw a 13.5 percent drop in 2016. Losses in 2017 and 2018 were more modest, with the fund down 4 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.

After laying off nearly 20 percent of Pershings staff last year, Ackman once a fixture on TV largely shunned media and bold activist bets.

But with the wind on his back, Ackman is slyly returning to the spotlight.

His marriage to Neri Oxman, a professor at the MIT Media Lab, was documented in the New York Times in January and he joked about his funds changes in an interview with The Wall Street Journal last week.

I went activist on Pershing Square, he told the paper.

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