At this point, the feud between Carl Icahn and Bill Ackman is legendary, but it’s rare that either of the two parties actually talk about it.
Today, we got lucky.
Icahn was on Bloomberg TV with Trish Regan this afternoon, and he got super blunt about his dislike for Ackman.
Not that he really needs to — Icahn has taken the other side of Ackman’s now famous Herbalife short. And in the past, the two have met in Court over a deal they did back in 2003 — Ackman won.
“Look, it’s no secret to the world and to Wall Street – and most guys on Wall Street I sort of like and I get along with – and it’s no secret I don’t like Ackmanl,” Icahn told Regan. “I have no respect for him and I don’t like him and that’s not a secret. But that doesn’t mean that I’m going to go in and buy stock in a company necessarily just to get him. Frankly, I don’t like the way he did this anyway. If you’re short, you go short and hey, if it goes down you make money. You don’t go out and get a roomful of people to badmouth the company. If you want to be in that business, why don’t you go out and join the SEC?”
Regarding Herbalife, he said that if Ackman had problems with the company’s business model, he should not have a “holier than thou” attitude about the company and say “I’m doing this for the good of the world and I want to see sunshine on Herbalife,” Icahn said.
“I mean, that’s bull…. I just call it bull. I think it’s completely disingenuous, but I think Bill Ackman is disingenuous,” he added. “I’m not here to criticise Ackman necessarily but if you ask me about it, I’ll tell you that’s what I believe.”
Regan correctly pointed out that Icahn is getting at the heart of a big philosophical question in today’s world of public hedge fund battles. Sh asked Icahn if he thought short-selling and public positions were actually hurting the market, as some have argued.
“You can’t go out and say you’re honestly good of humanity,” he said. “You’re doing it because you’re selling something short and you want it to go down… If you listen to his (Ackman’s) thing, I listened… you’re just trying to scare a lot of people and I don’t know how that helps the whole market and the whole sense of things… what you should be doing — if you’re going to do that by the way and you believe you’re doing the right thing — don’t go out and short it first, go out and do it. I would say that’s not the job of a guy who runs a hedge fund.”
And that is why Ackman and Icahn can’t even be in the same restaurant together.
Check out the full video below: