Herbalife Announces Buyback after Einhorn Attack, Sound Familiar?

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Herbalife Announces Buyback after Einhorn Attack, Sound Familiar?


Famed hedge fund manager David Einhorn seems to have set his targets on a new company; Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF).

It seems that billionaire hedge fund manager; David Einhorn seems to have set his sights on a new company, after he showed up on Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF)’s press conference yesterday. Despite protests by the nutrition company, its stocks seem to have taken a tumble, ending at 6.4% which is around $52.70 a share.  The shares are down another 11% today. The stock basically dropped down by 35% since the hedge fund manager showed up at the press conference.

Although Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) seems to have been having a good time, and even posted a good bottom line that was dubbed as a strong earnings report. The three questions asked by Einhorn seem to have spooked investors, and it is this that led to the fall in share value for the company. The questions that the head of Greenlight Capital asked in the press conference related to the metrics that the company had stopped disclosing, as well as the logic that the company uses in its business model.

It is not surprising that the questions he asked could affect the company’s performance because he has done almost the same thing with the Lehmann brothers, when he shorted the collapsed firm of around 100 million shares in a stock buyout program created by the firm. Another company that has also suffered Einhorn’s attack recently is Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ:GMCR).

In the now famous press conference, Einhorn ripped in to Green Mountain and accused them of shorting. He gave figures and broke down his case and argued that the company had very little operating cash flow, and it also had negative cash flow, that seemed to only get negative. The company’s apex was also rising, and its valuation, was also high as well. The returns on invested capital was low, and estimated price per stock was slowing, and loss of exclusivity patents, and increased competitions was also another concern for Green Mountain.

This ripping of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ:GMCR). by the rich hedge fund manager led to shares plunging to unprecedented levels. However, the stock for the company seems to have increased a bit this year, but it has never enjoyed the highs that it did before the ripping. Furthermore, star buck’s announcement that it would start making its own single serving espresso, meant that Green Mountain’s star product K-Cup would take a hit, affecting its performance further.

As a response to the attacks, Herbalife in a statement said that it would start buying back its shares in a bid to stop a short selling attack that may have been precipitated by Einhorn’s questions. The company said that it would buy back $427.9 million of its common stock, to finish off the remaining $1 billion stock repurchasing plan it had created. This move was seen as part of the defense strategy that the company had adopted since David Einhorn laid an attack on it.

However, analysts are of the opinion that the famed short seller’s attack on Herbalife presented a great opportunity for people looking to own the stock. This is because the 25% plunge means that any stocks bought now will be on a bargain.

So, as people wait to see who David Einhorn targets next, the victims can complain, but it seems that for the time being, the market will continue to give him credibility.

One last interesting compassion is Lehman Brothers. There was talk at the firm of buying back shares after Einhorn announced his famous short of the company. Lehman also did a huge buyback before Einhorn publicly announced his position. Buybacks can be used by management to project a false sense of under-valuation by the market.

Is Herbalife another Lehman? Will GMCR announce a buyback after their shares have plummeted and now are’undervalued’?

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