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Sunday, 22 January 2017
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Nov 25 2013 | 1:47pm ET
If nothing else, Pershing Square Capital Management founder William Ackman plans to have his $1 billion short bet against Herbalife outlive his most famous adversary.
Ackman gave a new presentation on the nutritional supplements company to the Robin Hood Foundation investor conference on Friday. He told the assembled that he would go "to the end of the Earth" to prove that Herbalife is the pyramid scheme he says it is, and then told Bloomberg Television that his is not worried about longtime rival Carl Icahn's support for the company.
"It doesn't bother me at all that there is some famous octogenarian," he said. "What is interesting here is that all the people who are publicly long Herbalife are 80-year-old billionaires. I am not really sure why that is."
During his presentation, Ackman introduced four women whom he said were victims of Herbalife's scam, earning a round of applause from the audience, including Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn, himself once seen as likely to launch an attack on Herbalife.
"They deserve a round of applause because this is a company that is very aggressive with its critics and a lot of the people who have been harmed by Herbalife are not in the position to defend themselves," Ackman said.
"If you think of the typical Herbalife distributor and their level of sophistication, to this day I still don't understand the marketing plan," Ackman added.
Despite the new presentation, Herbalife shares continued to rise on Friday, extending Ackman's losses. The stock is up 116% this year.
"Mr. Ackman presented nothing new today," Herbalife said. "After a year of baseless claims about Herbalife and hundreds of millions of dollars of losses for his investors, the only thing Mr. Ackman has proven with his obsessive, ego-driven investing decisions is his lack of understanding of consumer-product companies."
Certain famous octogenarians—Icahn is actually only 77—also chimed in.
"I continue to believe Herbalife has a great future, and in my opinion, many of the things Ackman says about it are simply the rantings of a sore loser," he told Bloomberg.