Tags: Herbalife | Icahn | Ackman | fund

Herbalife: The Bout Between Icahn and Ackman

Wednesday, 24 Jul 2013 12:54 PM

By John Morgan

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Shares of Herbalife climbed to a new 52-week high this week, as the personal battle of hedge fund titans, between Bill Ackman, who shorted the stock alleging the stock is an illegal pyramid scheme, and Carl Icahn, who is on the long side and thanks Ackman for making him richer, goes on and on.

Shares of the California-based nutrition company hit $60 per share on Tuesday, in an ongoing recovery from the nadir of $24.24 per share last Christmas eve after Ackman's allegations.

At the time, Ackman, who operates Pershing Square Capital Management, said he had invested $1 billion in Herbalife, shorting 20 percent of the company's shares, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Editor's Note:
Billionaires Dump Stocks. Prepare for the Unthinkable.

Ackman maintains many of Herbalife's independent distributors make more money for recruiting others than they do for selling its protein powders, vitamins and supplements.

Herbalife, which maintains its business model is legal and similar to Avon and other multi-level marketing companies, issued a statement that coincided with the ascendant share price, the Times reported.

"We believe the investment community as a whole has done their homework and realized that Pershing Square's thesis on Herbalife is inaccurate," said Herbalife spokesman Barbara Henderson.

Billionaire investor Icahn, for one, would probably agree.

"I like Ackman. Anybody that makes me a quarter million dollars I like," he said earlier this month on CNBC. "I never would have been looking at Herbalife if Ackman hadn't come out with that report."

The two men, who have been on the opposite sides of legal battles in the past, engaged in a boisterous live argument on CNBC earlier this year about Herbalife that was widely followed in the media.

Timothy Raney, an analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co. who rates Herbalife a buy, told the Times that Herbalife has survived allegations such as Ackman's in the past.

"There's nothing new here and there's nothing compelling here. It looks to me the rest of the investment community has done their homework and is coming to the same conclusion."

In what might be considered in some quarters as piling on, Business Insider reported that a third hedge fund manager, Dan Loeb, CEO of Third Point, left a message on his Bloomberg terminal this week that weighed in on the dispute.

It read, "New HLF product: The Herbalife Enema, administered by Uncle Carl," Business Insider reported.

Editor's Note: Billionaires Dump Stocks. Prepare for the Unthinkable.

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