Bill Ackman channeled his inner Lloyd Blankfein on CNBC Wednesday morning, saying that he’s doing “God’s work” on Herbalife.
For over two years, Ackman has been publicly crusading against Herbalife — a multilevel marketer that sell weight loss products — saying that the company’s stock is worthless.
The phrase “God’s work” was made famous by Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein in a 2009 interview. The comment, which was meant as a joke, was not taken as such and has since become infamous in finance.
In December 2012, Ackman gave a 342-slide presentation declaring that he was short $US1 billion worth of Herbalife shares. Ackman believes that the company operates as a “pyramid scheme” that targets poor people, especially those from the Hispanic population.
His investment thesis is predicated on regulators, specifically the Federal Trade Commission, shutting the company down. (The FTC opened an investigation into the company back in March of 2014.)
In the months that followed his initial presentation, Herbalife shares skyrocketed as a number of fund managers piled on by going long against Ackman’s position. Herbalife’s stock traded as high as $US83.51 last year but has recently declined and shares closed at $US30.42 on Tuesday.
Ackman told CNBC on Wednesday that he thinks the stock will continue to fall.
“A few more days and we are done,” Ackman said after pointing to the stock’s decline so far this week.
Ackman told CNBC that he thinks Herbalife is “going to miss earnings massively,” and added that the company is going to have to re-do their guidance for next year. Ackman also believes there’s a big seller right now.
In 2014, Pershing Square impressive 40%, while most other funds struggled to beat the S&P 500. One of Ackman’s big winners last year was Allergan.
For a large part of 2014, Ackman’s Pershing Square and Canadian pharmaceutical company Valeant had been pushing to buy Allergan, the maker of Botox. Allergan had repeatedly rejected Valeant’s offers.
Then, Irish pharmaceutical company Actavis came in as a white knight and agreed to buy Allergan, the maker of Botox, for a much higher price than Valeant was going to pay.
Ackman, who owned about 10% of Allergan shares, made over $US2.2 billion on the Actavis/Allergan deal.
“I’m not disappointed,” he said on “Squawk Box,” adding that he thought the transaction was “great for shareholders.”
Ackman was widely criticised for the trade.
Ackman also told CNBC that he had talked for years about partnering with someone to buy a business. “I think we’ll do it again,” he said, clarifying that it’s a “hypothetical” and he doesn’t have a target right now.
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