Ackman Says Herbalife (HLF) Was First Case of 'Sniping' Among Fund Managers

April 5, 2013 12:43 PM EDT
At a Thomson Reuters investment conference, Pershing Square's Bill Ackman was asked about Herbalife (NYSE: HLF).

Ackman disclosed holding a $1 billion short on the company back in December. Activist investor Carl Icahn than made the move to start buying up shares with latest data showing over a 15 percent stake in the company. Third Point's Dan Loeb also took a stake in Herbalife in January.

Commenting, Ackman said, "Taking a short position and going public with it is a pretty serious business. Did I think a group of hedge fund managers would take the other side of the trade and try to orchestrate a short squeeze? No, I didn't think that."

He also noted that hedge funds have generally worked collaboratively in the past and that this is the "first case where there was a lot of sniping going on between managers."

While Ackman's other famous holding in JCPenney (NYSE: JCP) has seen the bottom drop out (Pershing currently has about $500 million in paper losses), Herbalife has been active over the last four months, but is now settled in the mid-$30 range.

Shares of Herbalife are down modestly Friday.

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