Cooperman Criticizes Ackman Over Herbalife

May 6 2013 | 1:41pm ET

William Ackman's elders are not impressed with the Pershing Square Capital Management founder's campaign against Herbalife.

Omega Advisors' Leon Cooperman has joined Carl Icahn in criticizing Ackman for making his $1 billion short bet against the nutritional supplements company so public. At a Columbia Business School dinner in Omaha, Neb., Cooperman said Ackman was "foolish" to have done so.

Cooperman said Ackman's push had put him in legal jeopardy, should he change his mind on Herbalife, which he called a pyramid scheme. "Someone else who followed his advice and shorted the stock could turn around and sue because they were misled," Cooperman said. "That's a real risk."

Asked how Ackman's attack on Herbalife was different from Cooperman's own presentation at the conference where Ackman announced his short, the Omega chief said, "I spent two minutes on each stock. Ackman spent three hours trashing a company."

Cooperman's criticisms came without the personal ire of Icahn's attacks on Ackman. Icahn and Ackman have feuded for a decade, and Icahn has said he has no respect for the younger man. By contrast, Cooperman called Ackman "one of the best investing minds around," and even said his case against Herbalife "may be right."

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