Bill Ackman is blasting Herbalife like never before right now in midtown Manhattan. Herbalife is “one of the greatest frauds of all time”, “a tragedy”, and “preys on low income communities”. Herbalife adapted to Ackman’s earlier attacks–the investor stands to make billions if Herbalife collapses–by creating a 90-day waiting period to become a distributor and changing some marketing terminology. Ackman was unappeased. (There is, in fairness, little Herbalife can do to appease a man with a billion dollar bet on its failure.)
“Taking [this] short to the end of the earth” is how Ackman has famously described his position on Herablife. Yesterday the financial news network CNBC gave the billionaire investor a 30-minute platform to freely beat down Herbalife’s stock (HLF) – and the stock jettisoned more than 15%. Now Ackman’s at it again, and he’s got his own pulpit. He’s at the AXA Equitable Building in Manhattan talking to investors on a hotly subscribed conference call. But maybe too much of his relentless beatdown is making people nervous. As Ackman speaks, Herbalife is coming back. He pounds it and it reverses its 15% loss in an hour. Are people starting to think maybe Bill Ackman knows less about whether Herbalife is legit, and a lot more about how much he stands to lose if people don’t buy what he’s selling?