Pershing Square: Herbalife Silenced Us

Earlier today it was noted that, to the surprise of many, Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn had refrained from asking questions or dialing in and making sudden outbursts during this morning's conference call to discuss Herbalife's fourth quarter earnings.  Obviously this came as a shock on account of Ackman and Icahn taking many opportunities in the past to share their feelings re: the company and each other. And while it's true both men personally held their tongue's today, according to Pershing Square, one of its analysts had planned to ask questions on Bill's and the hedge fund's behalf but was shot down.
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Earlier today it was noted that, to the surprise of many, Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn had refrained from asking questions or dialing in and making sudden outbursts during this morning's conference call to discuss Herbalife's fourth quarter earnings. Obviously this came as a shock on account of Ackman and Icahn taking many opportunities in the past to share their feelingsre: the companyand each other. And while it's true both men personally held their tongue's today, according to Pershing Square, one of its analysts had planned to ask questions on Bill's and the hedge fund's behalf but was shot down.

Pershing was not allowed to ask a question on the call, said Pershing founder William Ackman, whose December disclosure that his firm had taken a massive short position against Herbalife thrust the nutritional supplement maker into the spotlight recently. Mr. Ackman said that Shane Dinneen, the Pershing analyst who spent a year looking into Herbalife, tried several times to ask a question but was not allowed to. “Our question for Herbalife is: Why have you not answered any of the questions that we submitted?,” Mr. Ackman wrote in an email Wednesday. “[Herbalife President] Des Walsh on national television committed to answer questions that we asked in the interest of transparency…Wouldn’t answering our questions help eliminate any confusion that you believe is in the marketplace?”

[WSJ, earlier]

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Does Your Next Food Eating Challenge Involve Binge Drinking Herbalife's Formula 1 Nutrition Shake?

As many of you know, around these parts we are constantly debating the merits of various financial services employees' food eating challenges. Historically, we've detracted points for allowing the participants far too much time to complete the task at hand (opening bell to close, might as well just make it limitless), an insufficient volume of food (a box of Munchkins, considered by many to be a snack), and lack of originality (vending machine challenges have been done). On the flip side, we've applauded creativity (an investment banker and 500 Starburst enter a room and there's a webcam involved),* obscene amounts of food and enough sugar to cause hyperglycemia (244 oysters, a cupcake of death), and topicality (the delicacy that is the Sausage Pancake Bite: yes! Double Downs: double yes!). Which brings us to this: the Herbalife Food Eating Challenge. New York Observer reporter Patrick Clark noticed that while the Herbalife story has been covered by many an angle so far (the blood-sucking pyramid scheme angle, the grandma angle, the Dan Loeb/UWS hedge fund manager on UWS hedge fund manager angle), the most important angle of all had yet to be explored: the actual ingesting of this stuff angle.