EXCLUSIVE: Ackman Responds to Icahn's Herbalife Stake: We Welcome His Involvement
Carl Icahn revealed a nearly 13% stake in Herbalife (NYSE: HLF) Thursday, sending shares spiking strongly higher in Thursday's after-hours session. Per Icahn's filing, the activist investor plans to seek talks with Herbalife's management, including possibly pushing for a transaction to go private.
Prior to Icahn's filing, last month, he appeared on CNBC with rival hedge fund manager Bill Ackman.
Ackman has sold short roughly one-fifth of Herbalife's shares, labeling the company a pyramid scheme and predicting that share prices would ultimately fall to $0. On CNBC, the two got into a heated argument, with Icahn disparaging Ackman as a whiny kid on the playground, while Ackman attacked Icahn as a bully.
During that exchange, Ackman told Icahn he could tender an offer for the company if he desired. It seems as though Icahn has partly taken him up on that challenge.
In response to Icahn's investment, Ackman commented to Benzinga:
“We invest based on a careful analysis of the facts. After 18 months of due diligence, we have concluded that it is a certainty that Herbalife is a pyramid scheme. Our conclusions are unaffected by who is on the other side of the investment. Our goal was to shine a spotlight on Herbalife. To the extent that Mr. Icahn is helping achieve this objective, we welcome his involvement.”
Icahn is set to appear on CNBC today around noon. In the meantime, shares look to open Friday near $45 per share.
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