Herbalife (HLF) Gains on Chatter Icahn Adding More as He Looks to Bury Ackman

August 29, 2016 1:23 PM EDT

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Herbalife (NYSE: HLF) is gaining mid-day on rumors Carl Icahn is buying more stock today in an attempt to squeeze short seller Bill Ackman.

On Friday, Icahn disclosed he bought 2.3 million shares following reports earlier that day from the WSJ that he had actually contacted bankers to sell his massive position in the stock. Following the initial WSJ report and before Icahn's disclosure, Bill Ackman went on CNBC confirming that he had been contacted by Icahn's bankers at Jefferies to buy part of the block.

Icahn ripped Ackman in a statement, saying he never gave Jefferies an order to sell any of his Herbalife shares. He said Mr. Ackman has developed a very bad case of “Herbalife obsession," and knocked him for going on air to tell the world what he thought Icahn was thinking.

"It amazes me that a guy who hasn’t any knowledge of my internal investment thinking believes he is in a position to go on television to tell the world what I AM thinking!," Icahn commented. "Amazing! He has no right to do so, and even worse, I’m sure his unsubstantiated, obsessive comments, especially about Herbalife, have cost investors a great deal of money over the last few years."

Ackman has been reeling from his bet gone bad in Valeant (NYSE: VRX) and now Icahn could be smelling blood in the water.

With his latest purchase, Icahn now has amassed a 20.78% stake in Herbalife. He has an agreement with the company to build the stake up to 35%.

The two initially started their feud over Herbalife in 2013, which came to a head on January 25, 2013 in a epic CNBC interview. At the time, StreetInsider called it "the most intense, ruthless, and jaw-dropping interviews in Wall Street history." That still stands.

Since that time the two have publicly made a truce and things seemed very cordial between the them. However, Mr. Ackman's latest stunt has clearly put the relationship back in the "enemies" category.

It may be time for Bill Ackman vs Carl Icahn Epic Showdown Part II. If it were a PPV event, we are sure many would cough up the money to watch.

Shares of HLF are up 3.3% mid-day to $62.58.



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