Billionaire Dan Loeb trims position in Herbalife

He's one of three tycoons fighting over the stock. Intrigue around the multi-level marketer continues.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 18, 2013 1:09PM
Credit: Tiffany Rose/WireImage/Getty Images
Caption: Herbalife product at the Nautica Malibu TriathlonBillionaire Daniel Loeb, one of three hedge-fund tycoons at the center of the drama around Herbalife (HLF), has trimmed his position in the multi-level marketer.

According to CNBC, Loeb, who runs the Third Point fund, started unloading shares in the seller of nutritional supplements and personal-care products a few weeks ago. 

The business news channel didn't have specifics on the sale, though it did mention that Loeb hasn't liquidated its take in the Cayman Islands company entirely. Loeb's other noteworthy positions include Yahoo (YHOO), where he is a member of the board.

Shares of Herbalife are up almost 18% since the start of the year, so Loeb's move may be simple profit-taking. After all, hedge funds are constantly trading around their positions to maximize returns. But Herbalife is not a typical stock.

Herbalife has been clouded in controversy for years and has long been a favorite target of short sellers. More than 32% of Herbalife's float is currently held by investors betting the shares will fall, according to The Wall Street Journal. Hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman has called Herbalife a "Ponzi scheme" and predicted that the company's shares will hit zero.

Loeb took a long position in Herbalife to counter Ackman's $1 billion short position. Carl Icahn, another billionaire, recently revealed a 13% stake in Herbalife. And though Icahn and Ackman made headlines with an insult-filled argument on live television, Icahn he insists that his investment has nothing to do with the animosity he feels toward his rival. 

Herbalife has repeatedly denied that is business practices are improper.

--Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

More on moneyNOW

Feb 18, 2013 4:17PM
herbie life and it's anthony powell dominated "sales" philosophy and structure - hmm, maybe they both need to be sued into oblivion........
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