Those of you who keep up on the ebbs and flows of Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn's relationship know that the hedge fund managers have been through Some Stuff together. The two collaborated on a business deal back in 2003 and emerged with two vastly different takeaways, Ackman's being that Carl Icahn lies every time he opens his mouth, while Icahn's was that Ackman is a sh*tty investor who you couldn't pay Icahn to be friends with. The two sued each other, they couldn't be seated anywhere near each other at fancy restaurants, and they both issued press releases detailing their hatred of the other.
In January 2013, on the opposite sides of an Herbalife trade-- with Ackman claiming and continuing to claim the company's death was imminent, while Icahn just stopped short of telling people "Their shakes are delicious, nutritious, and an essential part of my morning"-- they took part in an a live cage match televised by CNBC, in which these words actually exited Icahn's mouth: "I was minding my own business in 2003 and I get a call from this Ackman guy and he’s like the crybaby in the school yard. I went to a tough school in Queens and they used to beat up the little Jewish boys and he was like these little Jewish boys crying saying the world was taking advantage of him. He was almost sobbing. And he’s in my office talking about this Hallwood deal and how I can help him. It’s like in the old song, I rue the day I ever met the guy."
Then, 15 months later, something crazy happened: they sort of became friends again, beginning with Icahn not only not trashing Ackman but saying actual NICE THINGS about him in an interview. The same guy Icahn once a shitty investor for whom he has no respect; described as "the crybaby in the school yard"; and who he'd sworn, in at least one interview, that he'd never invest with again. And then, in an even more stunning but also unintentionally hilarious twist, Ackman left a message with Icahn's assistant, telling her "I am calling to forgive Carl."
And for nearly two years, things between the money managers was good. So good you could even see them starring together in a buddy cop movie. But if you'd started to picture them cruising down 5th together in a motorcycle and sidecar, hold that thought, because like most fantasies too beautiful for this world, it ain't happening. Following Carl's decision in the last week of August to buy 2.3 million for the sole purpose of spiting Ackman/reminding him how things go down in the schoolyards of Queens, the old man's come back with this:
The billionaire investor bought nearly 307,000 more shares of Herbalife on Wednesday, according to a regulatory filing on Friday. That’s on top of the 2.3 million shares he bought a week ago, bringing his stake in the company to 21 percent. Icahn is twisting the knife in Ackman’s $1 billion short bet against Herbalife. The two billionaires recently reignited their feud over the controversial nutritional products company. Ackman said last week that Icahn was trying to unload his stake in Herbalife and that bankers had approached him about buying some of the shares. “I think he knows this is toast,” Ackman said in a CNBC interview. Icahn fired back later that day, saying not only is he not selling Herbalife, he added to his positions by buying 2.3 million more shares. Icahn went on to criticize Ackman’s financial acumen in a CNBC interview on Tuesday and warned that Ackman may get “boxed in” on his position.