Paul Sohn, the young portfolio manager who worked on Soros Fund Management’s Herbalife investment, left the family-office hedge fund late last year, CNBC’s Lawrence Delevingne and Kate Kelly report.
“Paul Sohn’s departure is unrelated to any position the firm may have or has had in Herbalife,” a spokesperson told CNBC.
Sohn had not responded to our request for comment.
At one point, Herbalife was one of the Soros’ big positions. Soros first snapped up more than 5 million shares of Herbalife in the second quarter of 2013.
Soros Fund Management last held 1,888,288 shares of Herbalife, or a 2.06% stake, according to 13F data for the third quarter ended Sept. 30 2014 compiled by Bloomberg. During that quarter, Soros dumped more than 2.8 million shares of its position. (Q4 13F data will come out in mid-February.)
According to a New York Post report from 2013, Sohn told other fund managers at an idea dinner that “George Soros broke the Bank of England” and that “George Soros can break the back of Ackman.”
Soon after, Bill Ackman, who runs Pershing Square Capital, filed a complaint the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging that Soros’ fund had broken insider trading laws, the Post reported.
Ackman has been crusading against Herbalife for over two years. Ackman first disclosed his short position in December 2012. He believes the company is a “pyramid scheme” that targets lower-income people.
In the months that followed his initial presentation, the trade did not play out well for Ackman. A number of hedge fund managers, most notably his rival Carl Icahn, piled on by going long the stock, and Ackman suffered millions in paper losses.
The tables have turned in recent months with shares of Herbalife declining. Ackman, who was the top performing fund manager in 2014, is back in the money on his Herbalife short.
The longs are feeling the pain now.
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