Pershing Square Blasts Herbalife Customer Claims

Jun 19 2013 | 10:49am ET

With Carl Icahn fighting a more pressing battle, his skirmish with Pershing Square Capital Management's William Ackman over Herbalife has fallen from the front pages. But Ackman is doing his level best to get it back there.

Ackman, who in December launched his attack on Herbalife, calling it a "pyramid scheme," resumed hostilities this week, blasting a poll of the nutritional supplements company's customers. That survey, conducted by Nielsen, found that 3.3% of adults had purchased Herbalife in the first few months of 2013.

Ackman said the survey overestimates Herbalife's customer base and contradicts two other surveys released by Herbalife, which show 5% of adults buying its products.

"If Herbalife wished to determine its actual retail sales and the profits earned by distributors on these retail sales, it can simple request the required retail order forms from its distributors," Pershing Square said. "Herbalife's refusal to obtain the actual empirical data which would answer questions as to the amount and profitability of consumer sales begs the question as to why Herbalife continues to attempt to rely on inherently unreliable and incomplete surveys as a defense to its being a pyramid scheme."

Pershing Square has a $1 billion short bet against Herbalife.

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