Shares of Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) were halted briefly shortly before noon today as we all waited breathlessly for news. When the new arrived, well, how exciting can a new auditing firm be?
That’s what happened: Herbalife announced that its new auditing firm would be PricewaterhouseCoopers and that the firm would begin immediately to re-audit the company’s consolidated financial statements for fiscal years 2010, 2011, 2012, and the first quarter of 2013.
Today’s announcement is a follow-up to an announcement on April 9th that Herbalife’s former auditing firm, KPMG, had fired a senior partner for divulging insider information that was used to trade stocks in West Coast-based companies, including Herbalife and Skechers USA Inc. (NYSE: SKX). KPMG resigned the two accounts.
Herbalife is the center of a controversial claim by hedge fund manager William Ackman that the company is a pyramid scheme. Ackman has taken a short position of about $1 billion in Herbalife, which has gathered support from activist investor Carl Icahn.
Trading in Herbalife’s shares resumed in less than 20 minutes and the stock is trading about 3% at $50.70 in a 52-week range of $24.24 to $56.39.