So far the newly spun off company is as reclusive as its billionaire namesake in his later life. But the company did post this Reuters story on its web site, which offers some insight as to who is running the show and what their interests might be.
The Howard Hughes Corp may bear the name of a legendary U.S. industrialist of yesteryear, but it is the names of the people now leading the company -- primarily hedge fund manager William Ackman -- that are pushing the shares higher, said JMP Securities analyst Jim Wilson.
"I don't think it's any more than that," he said.
Ackman, who heads Pershing Square Capital Management, is the chairman of Howard Hughes Corp, which owns a collection of land, undeveloped malls, a master-planned community business, mixed-use projects, and even General Growth's headquarters.
Although some of its properties produce income, the bulk of the assets are land and development projects, which are risky and difficult to value.
"It would appear to me that you have a whole series of smart investors in here, and other investors are just following where the smart investors go," Wilson said.
Pershing's pre-bankruptcy investment in General Growth of less than $200 million is now worth more than $1 billion. Through its holdings of shares, warrants and stock, Ackman's hedge fund controls about 28 percent of Howard Hughes.
Like Ackman, Howard Hughes' other top officers have stakes in the company -- 7-year warrants paid out of their own pockets. CEO David Weinreb put down $15 million and President Grant Herlitz, $2 million.
....T2 Partners, part of Tilson Funds, was among those receiving Howard Hughes shares when General Growth emerged from bankruptcy, Tilson managing partner Glenn Tongue said, declining to say whether the firm still owned the Howard Hughes shares because it hasn't filed its disclosure statement.
Tongue said the stock's value is still unknown because management has yet to present to investors its long range plans.
"There's lots and lots of assets, and lots of things to do with the assets. But you still need someone to articulate what that vision is before a firm like ours is going to try to estimate intrinsic value," Tongue said.
The company's leaders are working on that, said Weinreb, who grew up with Ackman in Chappaqua, New York. The two rekindled their friendship about 13 years ago.
"We have set our sights on getting our hands around the many opportunities that exist within our dynamic portfolio and evaluating and prioritizing those opportunities," he said.
In terms of compensation, the company appears to want its new leadership to stick around a while. Here's a press release from late last year when Weinreb was named chief executive: