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BUSINESS
January 29, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
This just got personal. Herbalife Ltd. has obtained the rights to domain names such as therealbillackman.com and billackman.net, a sign that the Los Angeles nutritional products company may be planning a public campaign against one of its biggest critics -- billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman. Ackman said Herbalife is worried about his assertions that it is a pyramid scheme in which distributors are paid more for recruiting new distributors than for selling its diet shakes and protein powders.
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BUSINESS
March 12, 2014 | By Walter Hamilton
The rancorous battle over Herbalife's business practices took a critical turn as the company revealed that it is being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission. Herbalife did not reveal details of the probe, but the Los Angeles nutritional products maker reiterated its long-held position that its business model is sound. The company has been the target of accusations that it operates a pyramid scheme. "Herbalife welcomes the inquiry given the tremendous amount of misinformation in the marketplace, and will cooperate fully with the FTC," the company said in a statement.
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BUSINESS
August 21, 2013 | By Andrew Tangel
NEW YORK -- The Herbalife saga is getting more bizarre. Activist investor Bill Ackman is pointing to a top Herbalife distributor's suicide as an omen for the Los Angeles company's fortunes. The nutritional products maker, however, said Ackman is merely trying to exploit a family tragedy out of desperation.  In a letter to his investors Tuesday, the New York hedge fund manager noted that a Colorado distributor took his own life recently. The letter also cited other departures of distributors from the nutritional products company amid rule changes for how they operate.
BUSINESS
March 12, 2014 | By Walter Hamilton
The Federal Trade Commission has launched a civil investigation into Herbalife Ltd., the Los Angeles-based nutritional-products maker said Wednesday. Herbalife did not disclose any details of the probe, but it has been waging an ongoing battle against a hedge fund manager's allegations that it is running a thinly disguised pyramid scheme. The company reiterated its long-stated position that its business model is sound and said it would cooperate with the inquiry. "Herbalife welcomes the inquiry given the tremendous amount of misinformation in the marketplace, and will cooperate fully with the FTC,” the company said in a statement.
BUSINESS
February 20, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
One voice that was not heard during Herbalife Ltd.'s conference call with analysts Wednesday morning was hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, who has accused the company of operating a pyramid scheme and shorted $1 billion of its shares. "We followed the instructions, pushed star 1, and were not allowed on. Why are you surprised?" Ackman said in an email to The Times. The company said in a statement that it has no record of Ackman or anyone at his firm, Pershing Square Capital Management, attempting to ask a question.
BUSINESS
December 21, 2012 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Walter Hamilton and Andrew Tangel, Los Angeles Times
With investors punishing his company's stock for a third consecutive day, the top executive of Herbalife Ltd. sought to reassure shareholders Friday that his company is not a pyramid scheme. Working from the firm's tony headquarters in downtown Los Angeles, Herbalife chief Michael Johnson telephoned institutional investors, including fund managers at Fidelity, disputing highly publicized criticism from prominent New York hedge fund manager Bill Ackman. Johnson also assembled a team of about a dozen top company officials to prepare a point-by-point defense against Ackman's assertions that Herbalife is a "sophisticated pyramid scheme" whose independent sales associates make more money recruiting new distributors than actually selling products.
BUSINESS
July 27, 2013 | Stuart Pfeifer
This has been a good year so far for Herbalife Ltd. shareholders -- and a painful one for Bill Ackman, the activist manager of hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management. Ackman last year shorted 20 million shares of Herbalife stock, about one-fifth of its outstanding shares, betting $1 billion that the Los Angeles nutritional products company would fail. Herbalife's stock, instead, has surged more than 75% this year, hitting a 12-month high Tuesday and leaving Ackman and his Pershing Square down $169 million by Friday afternoon.
BUSINESS
December 18, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
A year ago, activist investor Bill Ackman rocked Wall Street with a $1-billion bet that shares of Herbalife Ltd., the Los Angeles seller of weight-loss and nutrition products, would slide to zero. Herbalife was a "pyramid scheme," bound to be undone by regulators and destroyed, he told the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets Dec. 19. Herbalife shares plummeted 42% in the next five days, hitting a midday low of $24.24 on Christmas Eve. At the time, it seemed that 2013 would be difficult for Herbalife.
BUSINESS
January 25, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
Herbalife Ltd. shares rose after a profanity-filled battle on live television between two billionaire investors with vastly different views of the Los Angeles company. Bill Ackman, who has an enormous short position on Herbalife and has called the company a pyramid scheme, and Carl Icahn, who reportedly has a long position on the company, traded personal insults during a nearly 30-minute telephone discussion aired live Friday on CNBC. Icahn called Ackman a "liar" and said: "He's got one of the worst reputations on Wall Street.
BUSINESS
February 15, 2013 | By Andrew Tangel and Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
NEW YORK - It's no longer just a war of words. Corporate raider Carl Icahn has thrown $214 million behind Herbalife Ltd., the Los Angeles-based maker of health foods and nutritional supplements accused of being a pyramid scheme by Icahn's foe, fellow Wall Street tycoon Bill Ackman. Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday reveal that Icahn purchased more than 14 million shares and options in Herbalife, a nearly 13% stake that would make him the company's second-largest investor.
BUSINESS
February 20, 2014 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Activist hedge fund manager Bill Ackman continued his relentless attack on Herbalife, releasing a report that accuses millionaire Herbalife distributor John Tartol of misleading others into selling the company's nutrition products. Ackman's company, Pershing Square Capital Management, said in the report released on its website Thursday that Tartol has made millions of dollars by misleading people into believing they can get rich as independent Herbalife distributors. “What took us that many years to do - 25, 30-plus years - you can all do in the next six, seven, eight years,” Tartol said at a 2011 Herbalife convention in Las Vegas, according to Ackman's report.
NEWS
December 18, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
A year ago, activist investor Bill Ackman rocked Wall Street with a $1-billion bet that shares of Herbalife Ltd., the Los Angeles seller of weight-loss and nutrition products, would slide to zero. Herbalife was a "pyramid scheme," bound to be undone by regulators and destroyed, he told the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets Dec. 19. Herbalife shares plummeted 42% in the next five days, hitting a midday low of $24.24 on Christmas Eve. At the time, it seemed that 2013 would be difficult for Herbalife.
BUSINESS
December 18, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
A year ago, activist investor Bill Ackman rocked Wall Street with a $1-billion bet that shares of Herbalife Ltd., the Los Angeles seller of weight-loss and nutrition products, would slide to zero. Herbalife was a "pyramid scheme," bound to be undone by regulators and destroyed, he told the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets Dec. 19. Herbalife shares plummeted 42% in the next five days, hitting a midday low of $24.24 on Christmas Eve. At the time, it seemed that 2013 would be difficult for Herbalife.
BUSINESS
December 3, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Herbalife Ltd. said a Belgian appeals court has overturned a lower court finding that the company operated an unlawful pyramid scheme. Critics of the Los Angeles nutritional products company had said the 2011 ruling in Belgium was evidence that the company improperly rewards its independent sales people for recruiting others into the business. Herbalife said in a statement that a Belgian appeals court ruled that the company's sales model "is in full compliance with the law. " PHOTOS: Top 10 Southern California companies "Herbalife always believed that the first judgment contained factual errors and was based on misinterpretations of its direct-selling sales method, and was confident that the original judgment would be overturned on appeal," Herbalife said in a statement Tuesday.
BUSINESS
October 28, 2013 | By Walter Hamilton
Nutritional products maker Herbalife Ltd. reported a nearly 27% jump in third-quarter profit amid double-digit sales growth in China and Latin America. The Los Angeles company reported net income of $142 million, or $1.32 a share, for the three months ended Sept. 30. That compares with $111.9 million, or 98 cents, a year earlier. Excluding expenses for non-recurring items, the company earned $1.41 a share, well above analysts' expectations of $1.14 a share. Sales grew 19.3% to $1.2 billion.
BUSINESS
October 23, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
It looks like former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who we heard was intent on keeping his political options open when he left City Hall this summer -- a run for governor was mentioned -- has instead decided to go for the money. The question is how many conflicts of interest this onetime rising Democratic star can juggle at once. Villaraigosa's newest deal is an advisory contract with the big public relations firm Edelman. That's curious, because Edelman also handles PR for hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, who has been on a months-long campaign to bring down the Los Angeles multilevel marketing firm Herbalife Ltd. -- where Villaraigosa is also a paid advisor.
BUSINESS
January 10, 2013 | Bloomberg News
Hedge fund Third Point took an 8.2% stake in Herbalife Ltd., becoming the latest firm to bet against hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, who has accused the direct seller of nutritional products of being a pyramid scheme. Third Point, which had about $10 billion under management and is run by financier Daniel Loeb, has purchased 8.9 million Herbalife shares, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Herbalife is fighting allegations made by Ackman, the founder of Pershing Square Capital Management, that it uses inflated pricing, misleading sales information and a complicated incentive structure to hide a pyramid scheme.
BUSINESS
May 7, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
Herbalife Ltd. shares gained 4% and traded part of Monday above the price they were when hedge fund manager Bill Ackman first accused the Los Angeles nutritional products company of operating a long-running pyramid scheme. The company's stock price plummeted Dec. 19 after Ackman publicly disclosed that he had taken a $1-billion short position against its shares. In the four trading days after Ackman's announcement, the stock fell 43%, reaching an intra-day low of $24.24 on Christmas Eve. Taking a short position involves borrowing shares at a high price and selling them, expecting to repurchase them later when the price falls and thus profit from the decline in stock prices.
BUSINESS
October 17, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu
A group of black and Latino community leaders is calling on California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris to launch an investigation into nutritional products maker Herbalife Ltd., accusing the Los Angeles company of being a pyramid scheme. The activists -- including members of the League of United Latin American Citizens, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Congress of Racial Equality and more -- plan to make their case in a news conference in downtown Los Angeles on Friday. The group alleged in a release that Herbalife uses deceptive marketing and predatory business practices to lure minorities with “extraordinary rags to riches stories even though the vast majority of the participants caught up in the scheme lose money and quit within a year.” Herbalife officials have said that at least 60% of their distributors are Latino.
BUSINESS
October 15, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
This has been a good year for Mary Jo White, the new chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and not such a good one for Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook and New York hedge fund manager Bill Ackman. That's the view of Worth magazine, which pegged White as the most powerful person in finance, ahead of President Obama and Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke. The magazine this week released an updated list of the 100 most influential people in finance, introducing White at the top of the list, while Cook and Ackman got the ax. Bill Gates, Peter Thiel and Warren Buffett fell, but stayed in Worth's top 100. STOCK SPOTLIGHT: Profiles of Southern California public companies “This year's list is compelling in many ways, starting with the fact that a woman, SEC Chair Mary Jo White, holds the top spot for the first time,” said Worth's editor, Richard Bradley.
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