Herbalife Audited Books Crushing Bill Ackman

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Weight management and nutritional products company Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) filed amended documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Monday following a re-audit of the company’s filings for the past three full fiscal years and the first three quarters of the current year. The re-audit and amended filings produced “no material changes to the Company’s audited 2010, 2011 or 2012 financial statements included in the amended 10-K/A or to the Company’s first, second or third quarter 2013 financial statements included in the amended 10-Q/As as compared with the Company’s previously filed financial statements for and as of each of such periods.”

The re-audit was occasioned by the withdrawal of KPMG as Herbalife’s auditor following revelations that a former partner in the auditing firm was fired for providing insider information to outside parties. The re-audit was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Herbalife’s new auditing firm.

The report comes as more bad news for Bill Ackman and Pershing Square Capital Management which has taken a well-publicized $1 billion short position in Herbalife, accusing the company of being a pyramid scheme. Unless some damning evidence falls out of the sky, Ackman’s last hope for any success with this investment is that some agency of the federal government will announce that it is launching an investigation into the allegations. That could happen but it looks like a longer and longer shot.

Herbalife, meantime, is getting a nice boost from the announcement. The company’s stock is up more than 8% at $73.87, and came within pennies of its 52-week high of $77.39 earlier this afternoon. The stock’s 52-week low is $24.24, set shortly after Ackman made his allegations in late December last year. Investors came back to Herbalife after the initial drop as the company continued to report good results and buy back more stock.

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