Herbalife Ltd (NYSE:HLF) has been in the spotlight for about a year thanks to the hubbub raised by hedge fund manager Bill Ackman. It has been rumored recently that the analyst who advised Ackman to short Herbalife was fired. However, Julia La Roche of Business Insider reports that this isn’t the case.
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Herbalife, the short ‘heard round the world
The name of the analyst in question is Shane Dinneen, and Business Insider apparently spoke with a representative from Ackman’s Pershing Square fund who said Dinneen still works there. The spokesperson denied the rumor, and the person who answered the analyst’s phone said he wasn’t available but that he did still work there.
Dinneen was with the fund since 2008, and you could say his recommendation about Herbalife Ltd (NYSE:HLF) became the short heard ’round the world.
Ackman asked Dinneen to research the nutritional supplements company before deciding to build his massive $1 billion short of it. A report in Vanity Fair earlier this year indicates that Dinneen and Mariusz Adamski, an intern at the time who was assigned to review Herbalife with him, spent time looking at public documents and old lawsuits. They also “watched strange selling videos and learned about Herbalife’s bizarre, charismatic founder, Mark Hughes.”
The Bill Ackman effect
Dinneen actually went on stage with Bill Ackman last year as he presented his short thesis (that is, his list of reasons for shorting Herbalife, which was by no means short). Since Ackman announced his fund’s massive short of the company, shares have rocketed upward by more than 131% as numerous big-name investors took long positions in it.
Shares of Herbalife Ltd (NYSE:HLF) have risen another 2% today as Bill Ackman’s view of the company has apparently had the opposite effect of what he wanted it to have. Herbalife announced this week that its new auditing firm had completed the re-audit of its financial statements from the last few years and didn’t find anything materially wrong. That announcement served as another upward catalyst for a company which has already seen tremendous momentum this year.