Pershing Square’s Herbalife Ltd. (HLF) Investment Analyst Resigns

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Pershing Square Capital Management, the activist hedge fund managed by Bill Ackman, informed its investors that its investment analyst Shane Dinneen, who led the research about Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) resigned to pursue other interests.

In a letter to Pershing’s investors, Ackman wrote, “For several months, Shane Dinneen, a member of our investment team since late 2007, has expressed interest in leaving Pershing Square to pursue other interests. As Shane is one of the most talented investment analysts I have ever worked with and someone I hold in high regard, I have done my best to convince him to stay with the firm.”

According to Ackman, Shane decided to move on other areas outside activist investing, but he intends to remain a meaningful investor of Pershing Square. Ackman added that Shane did “superb work” on many of his successful investments including General Growth Properties Inc (NYSE:GGP), Burger King Worldwide Inc (NYSE:BKW), and Herbalife Ltd (NYSE:HLF). He also said that he will keep a seat open for Shane on the investment team of the fund when he decides to return.

Legal counsels lead regulatory effort on Herbalife

The activist investor said that Shane is no longer leading the hedge fund’s investment in Herbalife Ltd (NYSE:HLF) because it has moved from financial analysis to a regulatory and legal execution.

Currently, Pershing Square’s regulatory effort against the multilevel marketing company is handled by its chief legal counsel Roy Katzovicz and senior counsel David Klafter. According to Ackman, the legal counsels have made significant progress in their work.

Ackman emphasized that they remained convinced that Herbalife Ltd (NYSE:HLF) “operated an illegal pyramid scheme since its founding,” and he is encouraged by the recent regulatory developments regarding the company.

Recent developments concerning Herbalife

Theresa Tedesco of the Financial Post reported that the Canadian competition watchdog is filing complaints against Herbalife Ltd (NYSE:HLF), and it is interviewing consumers, distributors, and infuriated investors regarding the company.

According to the report, the Canadian regulator normally takes a lengthy and complex process before launching a formal investigation.  Alexa Keating, spokesperson for Canada’s Competition Bureau, refused to confirm whether the agency is investigating Herbalife Ltd (NYSE:HLF) due to confidentiality.

Last week, Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate the allegations against Herbalife Ltd (NYSE:HLF). He also sent a letter to the company demanding answers to his questions regarding its business practices.

Separately, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), a civil activist group, met with the staff members of the California Attorney General regarding its complaint against the company. The group also said that attorneys general across the country have started their investigations against Herbalife.

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