Herbalife stock plunged another 6% during early trading hours, although shares began to recover by late morning. The stock has been struggling all week long, with Herbalife shares falling further and further. Today’s share price dipped after activist investor Bill Ackman spoke about the multi-level marketing company on CNBC‘s Squawk Box this morning.
Taking down Herbalife… God’s work?
When speaking about Herbalife, Ackman used a phrase made famous by Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs. According to Business Insider, Blankfein made a joke about doing “God’s work” years ago, and Ackman said this morning that he’s doing “God’s work” in his efforts to take down Herbalife, which he has been calling a “pyramid scheme” for more than two years now. He revealed his short thesis on Herbalife in late 2012 and has been chipping away at the company’s reputation since then.
Last year Herbalife stock soared as hedge fund managers opposed Ackman by taking up long positions in the company. Shares skyrocketed past $80 in early 2014, but they’ve been hammered since then, dipping as low as $27.96 per share earlier this morning before doing an about-face.
In just the last five trading sessions, Herbalife shares have plummeted, falling by more than 20%. Just on Tuesday, nearly 8% of the decline came, adding to last year’s 50% decline.
Ackman compares Herbalife to Bernie Madoff
Ackman said this morning that notorious Ponzi scheme operator Bernie Madoff found it difficult to find victims after the spotlight was turned on him. He added, “The same thing is happening at Herbalife.” He also said some of the multi-level marketing company’s “top distributors” and “senior employees from around the world” are contacting his firm, Pershing Square Capital Management, and the government and sharing information with them.
According to Ackman, Herbalife stock has been declining steadily because Wall Street believes the nutritional supplements company will miss earnings estimates and have to adjust its guidance. He added that there’s a major seller unloading shares right now, which he said is clear from short-term options trading that’s happening right now.
Who’s Herbalife’s big seller?
On Tuesday, there were speculations about which major Herbalife investor is selling off shares at a rapid pace. Bill Stiritz, chairman and CEO of Post Holdings, has been one of the company’s biggest investors for some time. It’s quite possible he’s the one who’s selling, but that won’t be confirmed unless (or until) he files a document with the Securities and Exchange Commission reporting the share sales.