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Dueling billionaire investors Carl Icahn and William Ackman, who have gone toe-to-toe in a battle over the legitimacy of Herbalife Ltd., were silent Wednesday as the nutritional-supplements maker held a conference call to discuss its better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. Mr. Ackman has bet against the company’s shares, setting up a more than $1 billion short position accompanied by a high-profile campaign questioning Herbalife’s business and calling its distribution model a “pyramid scheme.” Mr. Icahn, meanwhile, has taken a 13% stake in the company and said he intends to discuss potential strategic alternatives with the company, which he insists has significant growth potential. The battle has played out in the public eye, notably when the two men sparred last month in a televised war of words on business news network CNBC...Neither Mr. Ackman nor Mr. Icahn spoke on the call. A spokeswoman for Mr. Ackman’s firm declined to immediately comment on the matter. A spokeswoman for Mr. Icahn said he was unavailable to comment. [WSJ, related, related]

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How Should Bill Ackman And Carl Icahn Settle This Thing Once And For All?

When Mark Hughs founded a multi-level marketing company called Herbalife in 1980, he probably thought it had the power to do a lot of things. Help people lose weight. Makes others rich. Shake up the diet industry. What he mostly likely did not expect, however, was that his li'l company that could would reignite a feud between two billionaires that would devolve into a flurry of press releases quibbling over who was dying to be friends with whom, shouting matches on live TV, and, we predict, someone telling someone else he has a right mind to "Rip the eyes out of your head and piss into your dead skull! You messed with the wrong hedge fund manager!"

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.