Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) continues to be the center of controversy as several well-known hedge fund managers like Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn have battled over the company and its stock. Now there’s a new battle, and it involves one of the nutritional supplement company’s shareholders (or more accurately short sellers), Icahn and three major U.S. banks.
Carl Icahn became the company’s largest shareholder last week after upping his stake to 15.5 percent. Today Thomson Reuters reports that New York attorney Daniel Ravicher filed suit in Manhattan against Icahn, alleging that he amassed his stake in Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) out of revenge rather than a desire to simply invest in the company. Ravicher wants Icahn to pay damages and also divest his stake in the company.
He also filed separate suits against Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC). He wants the directors of the banks to withdraw the $1.2 billion in financing that they have provided to Herbalife. In all 50 different defendants have been named in the lawsuits involving the banks, including not only the banks themselves, but their CEOs as well.
According to Ravicher, by not withdrawing financing from Herbalife, they have “breached their fiduciary duties to him.” He also said that the banks face substantial risks of both civil and criminal allegations by not withdrawing their financing of the embattled company, which Ackman called a “pyramid scheme” back in December.
Ravicher has shorted Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), just as Ackman did at the very beginning of the controversy. That means he believes the nutritional supplements company’s stock will drop. The suits claim that the position has lost him over $75,000 since he started shorting the stock around the same time Ackman announced his large short position in it.
Shares of Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) are down 2 percent in Wednesday afternoon trades.