Meet The Man Who Is Now The Largest Individual Shareholder Of Herbalife

William Stiritz is now the largest individual shareholder in Herbalife.

The 77-year-old investor disclosed in a 13G regulatory filing with the SEC today that he personally owns 5,382,362 shares, or a 5.22% stake, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The second biggest individual shareholder is Herbalife’s CEO, Michael Johnson. Johnson owns over a million shares.

Stiritz’s Herbalife stake is worth about $US322 million or so. That a huge stake for an individual.

It’s unclear what his personal networth is exactly. We couldn’t find any record of Stiritz on any of the billionaire’s lists. [hat tip: @TheSkeptic21]

Stiritz is currently the CEO and chairman of food company Post Holdings. He’s also Post’s largest individual shareholder with a 1.13% stake. He owns approximately 369,662 shares, Bloomberg data shows. That would make his Post stake worth just over $US15 million.

He now owns a bigger Herbalife stake than his Post stake.

Herbalife is a multi-level marketing firm that sells nutrition products such as weight loss shakes and vitamins. The company is at the center of a huge hedge fund battle.

Back in December, Bill Ackman, who runs Pershing Square Capital, disclosed in a 300-plus slide presentation that he’s short $US1 billion worth of Herbalife stock. His thesis is that he believes the company is a “pyramid scheme” that targets lower income people, particularly from the Hispanic population.

Ackman thinks that regulators, particularly the Federal Trade Commission, will be persuaded to investigate the company and shut it down.

Not everyone agrees, though.

Ackman’s former friend Daniel Loeb of Third Point amassed an 8.2% stake in Herbalife shortly after Ackman’s presentation. He exited that position for a profit.

Long-time rival of Ackman’s, billionaire investor Carl Icahn, stepped in and bought a massive stake. Icahn believes Ackman will be the victim of the “mother of all short squeezes.”

Most recently, George Soros’ family office hedge fund snapped up a large 4.89% stake, or 5,039,175 shares.

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