Home Business This Is War: Carl Icahn Buys Huge Stake In Herbalife

This Is War: Carl Icahn Buys Huge Stake In Herbalife

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“I will talk about Herbalife when I goddamn want to”, these are the words of pure wisdom that Carl Icahn showered on CNBC anchor; during interview, Icahn tried in vain to steer conversation away from his personal battles with Ackman to the most notorious stock to watch.

Well Icahn finally ‘spoke’ or filed the much awaited 13D yesterday. While we were sure that he had a position in the company, as we were the first ones to confirm the story back in January, we did not anticipate such a large position.

Icahn disclosed a stake of 14 million shares in Herbalife Ltd.’s (NYSE:HLF) outstanding shares which amounts to a 12.98 percent position.

This Is War: Carl Icahn Buys Huge Stake In Herbalife

The enormous position was accumulated between the period of Dec 20’2012  to Feb 14’2012 and he may still be adding to it because it sure  looks like he is in this for the kill. Icahn started raking up shares of Herbalife just a day after Bill Ackman disclosed his short thesis and thanks to him for filing the detailed activity in HLF shares we also know on which dates he really revved it up.

In just three days in December, Icahn and company merely  (we write merely because in comparison to his entire holding this is small) accumulated 1.67 million shares. So when did he really load up all his guns? Three days after he went berserk on CNBC and essentially swore that he hated the guts of Ackman.

The bulk of Icahn’s position in Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), both shares and Call options, was bought on and after January 28. It seems to us this is very personal for Icahn and this stake officially declares war with Ackman.

The recent actions shows that Icahn will stop at nothing to put Ackman down. One of the reasons for Icahn’s animosity could be the painful memory of losing a court battle to Ackman in 2005; that loss is still hurting Icahn not to mention he hates the guy. The shake-down artist, as Ackman likes to brand Icahn, also said in his 13D that he has deep interest in the future of the company,

“The Reporting Persons intend to have discussions with management of the Issuer regarding the business and strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value, such as a recapitalization or a going-private transaction,”

While this may sound like standard lines included in regulatory filing, here is why the statement interests us. This means that Icahn is not here for just the profit, he is as serious about this holding as he can possibly be and in it for the long haul.

This is more than what we can say for Dan Loeb who filed a similar document with SEC and disclosed a 8.2 percent stake in Herbalife on Jan. 9. However what was missing was Dan Loeb’s active interest in the company. We have explained our thoughts about the value of HLF position to Loeb and how he seems to be in it for the trade only.

This just keeps getting interesting and meanwhile Ackman has said that his thesis stands and nothing  has changed even after Icahn’s disclosure; he continues to reiterate his pyramid scheme allegation and says that he is happy that Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) is getting more attention and welcomes Icahn’s involvement. Such a good guy!

Icahn was scheduled to appear on CNBC Fast Money at noon time, we will updating you soon. The last time Icahn in his hot headedness said to CNBC anchor Scott Wapner that, “I don’t give a damn about what you want to know. I’m going to talk about what I want to talk about. If you want to take that position I’ll never go on CNBC…. I’ll never go on a show with you again, that’s for damn sure.” 

Now who would not want this to happen another time, we hope Scott is up again.

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Tabinda Hussain

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