Will Carl Icahn Take Herbalife Private?

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Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) has been the subject of much conflict in recent years as activist investor Bill Ackman is waging all-out war on the company, claiming that it is a pyramid scheme. However, it would seem that Herbalife has now received more reinforcements in the form of another activist investor willing to take a larger stake in the company.

This week at the Delivering Alpha conference, Carl Icahn in an interview discussed how he has asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) if he is able to take up to a 50% stake in Herbalife, essentially creating a bulkhead against the waves of Ackman’s short position.

Icahn only has permission to acquire up to a still sizable 35%. Currently he is only sitting at 20% of the float.

At Delivering Alpha, Icahn even went as far to mention that he has weighed the possibility of launching a tender offer for Herbalife, which could do some serious damage to Ackman’s position and seemingly set a price level for the stock.

Along this line, Icahn believes that Herbalife might be better off as a privately held firm, but there’s still more to be seen from this company.

Excluding Wednesday’s move, Herbalife has outperformed the broad markets, with the stock up nearly 12% year to date. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock is up only 6%.

In terms of a broader perspective on the markets, Icahn commented on the current economic situation at CNBC’s Delivering Alpha, saying:

You look at the environment, and I think it’s very dangerous. You’re working on a ledge and you might make it to the end, but you fall off that ledge and you’re really going to see trouble.

Who knows, he could be talking to Ackman.

Shares of Herbalife were last seen up 4.8% at $62.68 on Wednesday, with a consensus analyst price target of $18.80 and a 52-week trading range of $42.26 to $72.22.