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Herbalife Names Moelis Adviser After Ackman Shorts Stock

Herbalife Ltd., the maker of weight-loss supplements whose shares have been shorted by hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman, hired Moelis & Co. as a strategic adviser.

Herbalife also said it hasn’t utilized the $950 million remaining on its $1 billion share repurchase authorization because of trading restrictions, according to a statement today. It said it will exceed the previously announced quarterly guidance of $50 million of the repurchase in upcoming quarters.

Ackman, head of New York hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management LP, said last week that a year of research convinced him Herbalife is a pyramid scheme. The company, whose shares he began selling short seven to eight months ago, misrepresents sales figures, misleads distributors about potential earnings and sells a commodity product at inflated prices, he said.

The company said last week it would hold an analyst meeting “to respond in detail to the distorted, outdated and inaccurate information” from Pershing Square. Herbalife, based in the Cayman Islands, today set the meeting’s date to Jan. 10.

The shares fell 4.4 percent to $26.06 at the close in New York and have declined 39 percent since Dec.18, the day before Ackman said he was shorting the stock.

Today’s statement didn’t provide further details on Moelis’s hiring.

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