handy totes

Wouldn’t it be fun to be the kind of guy who could swoop into an earnings call and be all “aren’t you just a giant fraud?” and freak everybody out and cause the stock to plummet? I feel like that would be fun. I am not that kind of guy, which is just as well, because I sort of go around assuming that selling (1) weight loss drugs through (2) network marketing just automatically makes you a giant fraud,* so I would probably use my powers irresponsibly.

Anyway David Einhorn didn’t do that at all! He asked some perfectly reasonable questions of weight-loss network marketer Herbalife. Here is a comically anodyne description:

Herbalife Ltd. (HLF), the maker of nutritional supplements and weight-management products, fell the most in more than three years after hedge-fund manager David Einhorn asked executives why it has stopped providing information tracking certain groups of its distributors in its filings. …

Chief Financial Officer John DeSimone told Einhorn on the call that when he took over as finance chief in January 2010 he decided to stop breaking out information on distributor groups as it isn’t “valuable information to the business or to the investors.” Herbalife “can easily provide the exact same breakout going forward,” DeSimone told Einhorn.

“That sort of follow up” would be “helpful,” Einhorn said on the call.

How cozy. You can read the questions and, crucially, listen to the skepticism in his voice here. You can see the 20% price drop here. Read more »