Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) shares continue to be a battleground for key hedge fund managers Bill Ackman and Dan Loeb. Ackman has been beating on the company’s stock since last month when he gave a three-hour presentation about why he was shorting it. That presentation sent shares of Herbalife into a rapid downward spiral.
Then Loeb stepped into the fray today and said he opposed Ackman’s view of Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) and that his Third Point Capital Management had purchased an 8 percent stake in the company. Not to be outdone, Ackman has responded to Loeb. The Wall Street Journal reports that he welcomes more attention.
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He said he gave his Dec. 20 presentation to shed light on the company’s practices so that investors would be aware of what they do. According to Ackman, Loeb’s investment into Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) is just another way to spotlight the company’s practices. However the regulatory filing which showed Loeb’s investment into the company buoyed its stock, sending it from its opening price of $38.14 per share up to almost $42 per share in just a few short hours. The stock has since fallen a bit from there, but it still has risen 5 percent today.
DealBook reports that Loeb sent a letter to investors today explaining why he invested in Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF). He said he doesn’t think that Ackman’s claims that the company is a pyramid scheme “has merit.”
“The short thesis rests on the notion that the FTC has been asleep at the switch, missed a massive fraud for over three decades, and will shortly awaken (at the behest of hedge fund short seller) to shut down the company,” wrote Loeb. He called Ackman’s thesis “preposterous,” especially since the FTC has brought cases against 13 alleged pyramid schemes since 1997.
Loeb even went so far as to call Herbalife a “compounder,” which is a company which shows steady growth year over year.