Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) has reportedly hired well-known attorney David Boies, who is expected to attend the company’s next investor conference this week. Fox Business’ Charlie Gasparino reported that a source told him the company may decide to pursue legal action against Bill Ackman, the hedge fund manager whose short sent the company’s stock plummeting last month.
Gasparino, along with Fox Business’ Charles Payne, discussed their views of Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) and the controversy surrounding it today. He said Thursday’s investor meeting will focus on addressing criticisms of the company, most of which were started by Ackman. Boies, who has represented Al Gore in the 2000 presidential recount and worked a number of other high profile cases, is expected to attend Thursday’s meeting on behalf of Herbalife.
According to Gasparino, Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF)’s hiring of Boies could be the company’s way of pressuring Ackman to back off. He said he believes that this is a first amendment issue, and the question in this case is whether there are restrictions on free speech when it comes to business matters.
Gasparino brought up another case in which Ackman appeared to go after a company. Ackman had called MBIA Inc. (NYSE:MBI) a “Ponzi scheme.” Gasparino said he agreed that the company did appear to be involved with some negative things, but that it did not technically appear to be a Ponzi scheme.
“You could make a case that any bank is a Ponzi scheme,” Gasparino said, “Because they lend out more money than what they have on hand.”
He also said that Ackman should watch his rhetoric and name calling when pointing out businesses he thinks have unethical practices.
Payne added that when Ackman presented his slide show explaining why he shorted shares of Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), it appeared to be such a compelling case that Ackman didn’t even need to name call.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has already investigated claims about Herbalife’s business practices. It dropped the investigation, but now Ackman said he will go to Congress in an attempt to get that investigation reopened. Ackman gave an interview discussing his short of Herbalife in full on Monday.