In December 2012, Hedge fund investor Bill Ackman painted a huge bull’s-eye on the back of Herbalife, labeling the Los Angeles nutritional supplements company an illegal pyramid scheme and placing a $1-billion short bet against its shares.
Ackman supported his bet with a 334-slide PowerPoint presentation that eviscerated the company in heroic detail. Whether Herbalife’s business model is illegal — ongoing investigations by federal and state authorities have that issue, and others, under scrutiny — much of what Ackman said at the time appears well-taken today.
So far this year, Herbalife’s shares are down about 43% — including a roughly 20% drop Tuesday (as of this writing) after the company shocked investors with a bad quarterly report and a pessimistic view of the future Monday. Its shares are currently trading below $45. Ackman, whose short bet is thought to have been made at about $50 a share, appears to be back in the black, after having faced a hefty loss when the stock reached the low $80s earlier this year.
As Ackman observed, Herbalife’s business model has long been questionable, relying on overhyped products, an almost invisible research-and-development program, and the targeting of a low-income and heavily Latino customer base.
One key to Herbalife’s success, Ackman asserted, was the exaggeration of the science behind its powders and pills. As I reported last year, UCLA’s medical school had become something of an enabler in this regard, allowing Herbalife to exploit what it claimed to be a “strong affiliation” with the medical school to give its products scientific credibility.
The company has been propping up its stock price with share buybacks, funded by borrowing and by canceling its dividend. Tuesday’s trading suggests that investors are finally taking a hard look at its health, and deciding that the stock has been running on empty calories.
well shut the front door!
an alleged pyramid scheme coming to an end?
well you don’t say……welp.
who didn’t see this coming?
i saw it last year.
people got hip.
one of the barbers in my shop was trying to get randoms on his team.
he apparently had a few people drop out and he had to cover their tab.
anything where you need to be on a team,
and you have to buy something,
while it makes the person above you rich…
get that bulllllllllshit outta here.
many of the herbalife attentionistos on instagram went independent.
in other words:
“people ain’t listening to my ear hustlin no mo”
so whats the next scheme?!
thanks f-bi for the update!
lowkey: they should offer the flavors of “pecan pie” or “thanksgiving plate”.
that should boost sales.
to think about all the money the attentionistos invested in this…
article taken: latimes