Is Herbalife (HLF) About to Rock Ackman's World?

January 11, 2013 12:22 PM EST
Get Alerts HLF Hot Sheet
Price: $53.01 -0.24%

Rating Summary:
    6 Buy, 5 Hold, 1 Sell

Rating Trend: = Flat

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    Up: 30 | Down: 30 | New: 23
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Bill Ackman, Dan Loeb, Robert Chapman, Carl Icahn, David Einhorn, CEO Michael Johnson... the number of electrifying personalities in battleground stock Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) is epic. Adding fuel to this fire would not likely be wise. However, what could be coming for short sellers might not be fuel... it might be an atomic bomb.

With Herbalife likely to give preliminary fourth quarter results next week, this will likely remove the company 'blackout,' freeing them up to put into place its massive share repurchase plan, analysts at Barclays noted.

The company has yet to utilize the $950 million remaining on its existing $1 billion share repurchase authorization and has already said it expects to exceed its previously announced quarterly guidance of $50 million of the repurchase authorization in upcoming quarters.

If Herbalife was to utilize its entire renaming repurchase plan it could buyback approximately 24.4 million shares at the current price of ~$39, or 23% of the 105.9 million share float.

If you take into account the free float, the numbers look worse for Mr. Ackman. We know Ackman has 20+ million shares on loan for his short, Dan Loeb has 8.9 million shares and there are likely other "strong hands" in the stock. If Herbalife puts in place an aggressive share repurchase plan they could force a short squeeze in the name.

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