Ackman Says Herbalife Presentation A ‘PR Failure’

Jul 31 2014 | 12:33pm ET

William Ackman’s latest attack on Herbalife, last week, fell flat, and the Pershing Square Capital Management chief is taking the blame.

Ackman isn’t backing down from the claims he made during the presentation, in which he argued that the nutritional supplements company targets disadvantaged minorities to prop up what he calls a pyramid scheme. But he admits he made have hyped the presentation too much in advance.

Herbalife shares soared after Ackman’s talk, which he had called the “most important presentation” of his career. He said that it would lay out “why Herbalife is going to collapse,” adding, “We’re raising expectations, but won’t disappoint.”

Today, Ackman admitted he might have raised them a little too high.

“It was a PR failure,” Ackman said. “I think we raised expectations. People were looking for the dead body and the smoking gun and instead what they got was a three-hour detailed regulatory presentation.”

“My bad.”

Christine Richard, the former journalist who worked on the presentation with Ackman, said that “the combination of the overhyping of the presentation and the length buried some of the material.”

“I’m my own worst enemy,” Ackman conceded.

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