Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) defended itself by saying that the Federal Trade Commission should investigate Bill Ackman, not the nutritional supplement maker. The company emailed a statement to the ValueWalk, saying that it regrets the National Consumers League's plea to the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the MLM as a potential pyramid scheme.
Earlier, hedge fund manager Bill Ackman applauded the consumer group's plea for an investigation. Ackman has a $1 billion short position in Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF). National Consumers League said it held separate meetings with Herbalife, Direct Selling Association and Pershing Square Capital Management's representatives.
Ackman said in a statement that the investigation will reveal that Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) is a pyramid scheme that has negatively affected millions of customers in over 80 countries. "If the FTC misses Herbalife, it’s the equivalent of the SEC missing Madoff,” he said.
The company has repeatedly called Ackman's allegations malicious and has accused the hedge fund manager of manipulating its stock. In its latest letter, the company fired back saying if anything, Bill Ackman should be investigated. Herbalife said the actions of Ackman are based on his $1 billion bet against the company based on his false belief about the company's business model. Such allegations do affect the company's consumers and investors, and badly affect Herbalife Ltd.'s reputation.
Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) reiterated in the letter that it is committed to offer consumers high quality products that address their nutritional and weight management need. The company said its consumer protection rules exceed the standards set by the Direct Selling Association (DSA).
Meanwhile, the Direct Selling Association has released a letter in response to National Consumers League's letter. As always, the industry trade group continues to defend Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF).
Other investing legends like Carl Icahn and Dan Loeb think Herbalife's business model is legitimate, and they have long-positions in the company. In fact, Carl Icahn has become the largest shareholder of Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF). Expressing his displeasure on Ackman's comments, a Herbalife shareholder and activist investor Robert Chapman Jr. said that FTC seems to have said a firm "NO" to Ackman, but he just keeps insulting them over and over again.
Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) shares were down 0.42 percent to $40.21 in early trading.