Ackman Shrugs Off Icahn Herbalife Investment

Feb 19 2013 | 9:30am ET

Pershing Square Capital Management is undeterred in its crusade against nutritional supplements company Herbalife by Carl Icahn's big move into the stock.

Icahn last week disclosed a 13% stake in Herbalife, two months after Pershing Square chief William Ackman attacked the company, calling it a pyramid scheme. But Icahn's buy and rumblings about seeking "strategic alternatives" for Herbalife hasn't changed Ackman's mind.

"We invest based on a careful analysis of the facts," Ackman told CNBC, whose airwaves last month hosted a 25-minute hostile exchange between he and Icahn. "After 18 months of due diligence, we have concluded that it is a certainty that Herbalife is a pyramid scheme. Our conclusions are unaffected by who is on the other side of the investment. Our goal was to shine a spotlight on Herbalife. To the extent Mr. Icahn is helping achieve this objective, we welcome his involvment.

Pershing Square has a roughly $1 billion short position in Herbalife.

During the now-legendary exchange on CNBC, Icahn asked Ackman what he would do if his stock lenders called his Herbalife shares back. "Carl's free to make a tender offer for the company," Ackman said.

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