Ackman and Icahn Battle Over Herbalife on CNBC
Friday afternoon on CNBC hedge fund managers Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn went toe-to-toe over Herbalife (NYSE: HLF). Ackman has a sizable short position -- over 20 percent of Herbalife's shares have been sold short by Ackman's fund Pershing Square -- while Icahn is rumored to own shares of the multi-level marketer.
For nearly 30 minutes, Ackman and Icahn traded insults.
“Ackman is a liar,” Icahn insisted.
About Ackman's promise to donate the profits from his Herbalife short to charity, Icahn characterized it as “bull****.”
Recalling their previous business dealings, Icahn characterized Ackman as a “little jewish boy crying on the playground.”
About 10 years ago, Icahn and Ackman entered into a business deal over Hallwood Realty Partners. The deal went sour; Ackman sued Icahn -- and won.
On Herbalife, Icahn said Ackman was doing “what they did in the 90s.” He accused Ackman of orchestrating a bear raid on Herbalife, “calling 300 people together in a room to scare them.”
Ackman fired back at Icahn, saying that Icahn “takes advantage of little people” and is a bully.
“He thought I was going to fail,” Ackman said. “So he decided that he just wouldn't pay me...I swore to go to the end of the earth to get that money back for my investors.”
“Icahn asked me to be friends,” Ackman added. “I said Carl, you are no friend of mine.”
Icahn said he “wouldn't invest with Ackman if he was the last person on earth.” He added that Ackman takes inordinate risks.
Most interesting, Icahn seemed to threaten Ackman with a tender offer -- a move to acquire the company in full, which would cause a massive short squeeze and result in tremendous losses for Ackman.
“Ask him,” Icahn said to CNBC's host Scott Wapner. “What will he do if there's a tender offer?...It could be the biggest short squeeze in history.”
“There won't be a tender offer,” Ackman countered. “No one is going to write a $6 billion check for this company when it's a fraud.”
Ackman also reiterated that he remained short Herbalife, that he had no intention to cover his short, and that anyone who sold shares before they fell to $0 stood to be better off.
Shares of Herbalife traded at $43.64 at Friday.
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