- Billionaire activist is largest investor in nutrition company
- Icahn raises stake as Ackman short nears 4-year anniversary
Carl Icahn, the biggest shareholder in nutrition-supplements company Herbalife Ltd., bought another 306,846 shares of the company this week.
Icahn paid $60.39 a share for the added stake on Aug. 31, according to a filing Friday. Herbalife closed at $61.35 in New York, giving it a market value of about $5.7 billion.
Last week, Icahn acquired an additional 2.3 million Herbalife shares, boosting his stake in the company to about 21 percent. He announced that purchase after fellow billionaire activist investor Bill Ackman said Icahn was looking to sell his stake.
Ackman’s hedge fund, Pershing Square Capital Management, is nearing the four-year anniversary of its well-publicized $1 billion bet against the Los Angeles-based maker of fitness and nutrition products.
Ackman and Icahn have publicly sparred over Herbalife’s fate. Ackman has called it a pyramid scheme since going public with his short in December 2012. Herbalife has repeatedly denied Ackman’s claims.
Icahn has been on the other side of the debate since early 2013, publicly assailing Ackman’s effort to put Herbalife out of business, and adding five representatives to the nutrition company’s board.
On Aug. 26, Ackman sent Herbalife shares tumbling when he said Icahn was looking to ditch his holdings. In an interview with CNBC, Ackman said investment bank Jefferies Group LLC approached him about buying a portion of Icahn’s Herbalife shares.
Icahn waited until after market close that day to announce that he’d in fact raised his stake.
“It amazes me that a guy who hasn’t any knowledge of my internal investment thinking believes he is in a position to go on television to tell the world what I AM thinking! Amazing!” Icahn said in a statement that day.