Herbalife has been at the center of at least two investigations (by the FTC and FBI) and perhaps as many as three (possibly the SEC, according to Probes Reporter), but now there’s news of a possible fourth probe. This time it involves the company’s members, as many as ten of whom may have been questioned by law enforcement.
New Herbalife investigation uncovered
CNBC‘s Scott Wapner reports that his sources told him “several” members of Herbalife were contacted by authorities who asked for information regarding their business practices. He said officials contacted them last week, focusing their inquiries on approximately ten of Herbalife’s top members.
He said it isn’t clear what type of information officials wanted or which ten of the multi-level marketing company’s members they are investigating. Wapner’s sources also reportedly said authorities offered the members they contacted some help in securing legal counsel. He said it also isn’t clear how many of the members sought the help of an attorney.
Other Herbalife investigations
The most recent confirmed investigation related Herbalife has to do with possible manipulation of its stock price. Investigators had sought information from Herbalife and some consultants retained by activist investor Bill Ackman. This investigation is more about trades around Ackman’s long-running campaign against Herbalife in which he alleges that the company is a pyramid scheme. Company management said they are complying with officials’ requests for information in this case.
Wall Street has also been anxiously waiting for resolution of the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation into alleged misleading comments made by some of the company’s distributors. This probe has been confirmed, although Probes Reporter recently suggested that there may be an investigation being conducted by the Securities and Exchange Commission underway as well. There has been no official confirmation on this alleged probe, which may be in some way related to one of the other probes.
Will Bill Stiriz exit Herbalife?
Today just isn’t a good news day for Herbalife, as long-time bull Bill Stiriz, CEO of Post Holdings, has shown signs of exiting his position in the nutritional supplements company. Stiritz is Herbalife’s biggest independent shareholder and fifth largest shareholder overall, and regulatory filings with the SEC indicate that he changed his filing status from active to passive.
As a result, some began to speculate that he may be preparing to sell his shares. However, Bloomberg’s Duane Stanford reports that Stiriz does not plan on selling out of Herbalife. He said he had talked with the company’s management regarding ways to deal with Ackman’s campaign.
As of this writing, shares of Herbalife were down 2.14% to $41.99 per share.