- Pershing Square exited from its $US1 billion short position on Herbalife.
- The firm’s Bill Ackman got into a public spat with famed investor Carl Icahn, who’s bullish on the stock.
- Icahn is now gloating for being right.
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is reveling in his victory over Pershing Square’s Bill Ackman.
Five years ago, the two investors publicly butted heads over the future of supplement maker Herbalife. Icahn was long on Herbalife, whereas Ackman was short, predicting the stock would hit zero. But it didn’t. In fact, the stock is up more than 120% over the last five years.
On Wednesday, Pershing Square gave up, exiting from its $US1 billion Herbalife short position. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the failed bet likely cost the firm hundreds of millions of dollars.
In an interview with CNBC Thursday, Icahn took the opportunity to gloat, saying, “I enjoy a good fight, especially when I win it.”
Icahn says he made $US1 billion off of his position in Herbalife.
“I honestly in a strange way I thank Bill…I wish him well,” Icahn said. “He called me yesterday and congratulated me.”
Ackman was a noted anti-Herbalife crusader, alleging the company had all the characteristics of a pyramid scheme.
In 2013, Icahn called Ackman “a liar” in response to those claims during the on-air spat.
“I’ve really about had it with this guy,” Icahn said in 2013. “He’s like a crybaby in the schoolyard.”
To be sure, Ackman isn’t alone in his view on Herbalife. The company was forced to pay $US200 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint accusing the firm of deceiving customers. The FTC, however, did not go as far as to say it was a pyramid scheme.