Tim Ramey, the analyst famous for issuing bullish calls on MLM player Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), has quit his position as a food and beverage analyst at D A Davidson.
Ramey will join Post Holdings Inc (NYSE:POST) as director of strategic ventures, and will report to chairman and chief executive William P Stiritz, who holds a 6.4% stake in Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF).
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Stiritz: Another Herbalife bull
Stiritz is Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF)’s fourth-largest shareholder and has been ranged against short-seller Bill Ackman who made a $1B short play on the company, alleging its multi-level marketing business was a worthless pyramid scheme.
In November 2013, Stiritz said in an SEC filing that he intends to interact with Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) management to “address a wide variety of matters, including ways to further leverage the Company’s strong distribution system, potential financing and/or recapitalization strategies, potential stock repurchase programs, and potential strategies for confronting the speculative short position that currently exists in the Company’s stock and its attendant negative publicity campaign.” (Emphasis added).
Stiritz also announced that he could get involved in a LBO of Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), though he maintains that his interest and investment in Herbalife are personal and distinct from Post Holdings Inc (NYSE:POST).
The Wall Street analyst most bullish on Herbalife
Ramey acquired a reputation for his fierce defence of and bullish calls on Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF). While at D A Davidson, Ramey had a Buy rating and a price target of $115 on the company. His views often clashed with those of Bill Ackman, the big short-seller in the stock.
Ramey deemed Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) one of the five best stocks to own in 2013, and followed that up with a recommendation that said it was his “single best idea” for 2014, citing solid margins, strong cash flows, excellent revenue growth and shareholder-friendly actions such as dividend hikes and buybacks.
Herbalife in activists’ focus
Ramey also said earlier this month that the stock could be propelled higher by other catalysts. “We continue to think that the situation is ripe for a catalyst – perhaps leveraged shares repurchase, perhaps a leveraged buyout,” he says. “Several noted investors including Carl Icahn and William Stiritz have ‘activist’ positions and are likely to pressure Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) to use its zero-debt-net-of-cash balance sheet to leverage returns to shareholders.”