Herbalife Ltd (NYSE:HLF) shares jumped as much as 3 percent ahead of the company’s next earnings report this evening and in the midst of rumors that the company is about to begin a major share repurchasing program.
Herbalife to buy back shares?
On its Twitter account, Zerohedge references “HLF 30% buyback chatter.” There’s no indication of where this “buyback chatter” might be coming from. The only sign of such chatter seems to be on Zerohedge’s Twitter feed.
Ackman to rise or fall on Herbalife
Herbalife Ltd (NYSE:HLF) was first brought into the spotlight by activist investor Bill Ackman’s publicly declared short of the company after he called it a pyramid scheme. The New York Post’s Michelle Celarier reports that this year’s surge in the company’s stock price over the last two weeks has cost Ackman roughly $200 million in paper losses. Sources told the Post that Ackman paid about $50 per share when he borrowed Herbalife shares and has not covered or hedged his position in the stock.
On Friday shares of Herbalife Ltd (NYSE:HLF) started inching upward on expectations that the company’s next earnings report would be a positive one. The company reports today after closing bell, and Ackman needs that report to be far short of expectations or his paper losses will only increase.
Ackman vs. Icahn
Analysts expect Herbalife to report earnings of $1.19 per share for the second quarter of the year. Revenue is expected to be $1.16 billion for the second quarter. If the company beats this consensus, it’s worth asking when Ackman will move to cover his short position. If Herbalife keeps on beating expectations, then the hurt will only continue for Ackman.
He’s essentially facing off with fellow activist investor Carl Icahn, who has made his long position in the stock quite apparent. Icahn said recently that he likes Ackman because he likes anyone who makes him a quarter billion dollars. He’s undoubtedly referring to this Herbalife fiasco.