Activist investor said on “Charlie Rose” on PBS that he’s disappointed in the way that ex-friend Daniel Loeb handled the whole Herbalife situation.
Back in December, Ackman publicly announced that he’s shorting more than 20 million shares of Herbalife, a multi-level marketing company that sells nutritional supplements. Ackman is known for being a mostly long only investor. The last public short he had was MBIA.
“We believe Herbalife is operating a pyramid scheme,” he said in the interview, adding that he is shining a spotlight on the company so the regulatory community can investigate.
Shoftly after Ackman disclosed his short position, Loeb, who runs Third Point LLC, snapped up an 8.2% stake in the company. He called Ackman’s “pyramid scheme” accusation “preposterous.”
Ackman claimed in the interview last night that Third Point had a price target in the $US70s and sold the position in a few weeks.
To be clear, Loeb actually gave the stock a price target of $US55 to $US68 a share in a letter to investors.
From that letter:
Applying a modest 10-12x earnings multiple suggests Herbalife’s shares are worth $US55-$US68, offering 40-70% upside from here and making the company a compelling long investment for Third Point. Given that the Company has historically traded more in the 12-14x range (and traded at 16-20x earnings through much of 2011 and early 2012), the opportunity for the Company to tell its side of the story tomorrow at its Analyst Day in New York, and the significant short interest, we believe shares could even trade well above our current price target.
Sometime during the first quarter Loeb exited his Herbalife position for a nice profit.
Ackman admitted that it was a “good trade.”
“I’m longer term,” he explained. “I’m not a trader. What we do is take large concentrated positions.”
Rose asked him if he respected Loeb.
“He has a good track record,” Ackman answered.
Continuing on, he added that was disappointed in the way Loeb handled it though by getting in and exiting shortly after.
Loeb has recently been leaving a series of taunting messages on his Bloomberg terminal targeted at Ackman.
As for his rival, Carl Icahn, Ackman explained that Icahn is still angry at him from when he sued him years ago.
“He’s used Herbalife as really a platform to ‘get back at me.'”
Since Ackman’s short position was revealed, shares of Herbalife have surged more than 50%.
The stock is going up “simply because Carl Icahn and others have been promoting it,” Ackman said.
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