Nutritional supplements company Herbalife has rewarded its biggest ally in its battle with Pershing Square Capital Management with a pair of board seats.
The Los Angeles-based company said it would name two representatives of Carl Icahn to its board, which will grow to 11 members. Icahn Enterprises and its related entities own a 13.6% stake, and have pledged their support for Herbalife's other board members. The deal also allows Icahn to boost his stake in Herbalife to 25%.
"We are pleased to have reached this agreement and look forward to working with the Icahn representatives as members of our board of directors," Herbalife CEO Michael Johnson said. "We appreciate the Icahn parties' shared view on the inherent value of Herbalife's operations, products and future prospects."
Icahn build up his stake in Herbalife after Pershing Square chief William Ackman called the company a pyramid scheme and announced a $1 billion short position. Icahn and Ackman have feuded for a decade, and the former boosted his stake in Herbalife following a joint interview with Ackman on CNBC Jan. 24, in which Icahn made clear his antipathy for Ackman.
Icahn would not identify his board nominees during an interview with Bloomberg Television. He did, however, renew a familiar refrain.
"Well, if you look at his record lately, he has made a few very big mistakes," Icahn said of Ackman. "I am not going to say just this one. I am not here to question Ackman. I do not want to get pulled into that again…. I look at it as a great opportunity. Ironically, I thank him for giving it to me."
The era of good feelings did not last.
"Does not mean I like him…. I do not respect him. I do not like him."