We were just speculating the other day that Dan Loeb and Robert Chapman are in Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) for the trade and not for the long haul.
It seems we were right as Chapman sold his stake in Herbalife, he said in an interview with Bloomberg, just as Icahn disclosed his active stake of 13 percent last night. Chapman may not be a long term investor in the company but he is surely the smart one.
He bought shares when the price was touching the lowest levels after Bill Ackman revealed his short and then sold it just when Carl Icahn's huge stake put Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) into a buying frenzy. We have no information about the size of Chapman's stake so we cannot estimate his net profit from the trade.
However he bought in the range of $27-29 and sold it when it was on the highs of $47-49 in last night post market trading. So he could have made a 60 percent profit on this position.
Chapman said that his exit from Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) is not because he thinks the accusations of pyramid scheme are legit but only because right now the stock is under a lot of scrutiny and can come under further pressure in the coming months.
During the interview. Chapman said that he does not want to have a position in the company, the day a formal investigation starts. Although Chapman does not think Ackman will be successful, he agrees that Ackman can take this to the point where regulators start looking into it and at that point Herbalife would be under stress. He plans to buy a position again at that time when the stock plummets.
Unlike Carl Icahn, Chapman has some respect for Ackman, he said, "there are many things about Bill Ackman that I respect;" so this is not a personal feud for Chapman, as it is for Icahn.
Chapman said that he thinks Icahn is one of the best performing investors and he never makes any move on the basis of his emotions and he has done his due diligence before he initiated the position in HLF. Nevertheless, he said that the buying activity enlisted in Icahn's 13D does raise questions as Icahn accumulated the major chunk of his position after his public battle with Ackman took place on Jan 24-25.
Chapman also said that Ackman is trying to beat the bulls on Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) and is influencing journalists with his confidence, voluminous presentations that lack substantial content and take facts out of context.