“Betting on Zero,” the movie documenting Bill Ackman’s heroic but so far (for him, anyway) tragic battle against the scourge of truth, justice and the American way, Herbalife, is coming to a theater near you on Friday. Well, it is if you live in New York, L.A., Houston, Dallas, Denver, Santa Fe, Columbus or southeastern Westchester, anyway. Otherwise, it’s just coming to your iTunes.
In any event, this cinematic activism (or, as Herbalife—which made sure to buy “bettingonzero.com” before Ackman’s filmmaker could—would have it, “a misleading infomercial paid for by a billionaire hedge fund manager”) is Ackman’s latesteffort to kill the apparently immortal diet-shake purveyor, which can survive a giant FTC fine and finding that it’s basically the pyramid scheme Ackman says it is but not in a semantic sort of way, and even turn that to its advantage. Unsurprisingly, HLF’s biggest fan (albeit not of its products), Carl Icahn, isn’t worried that his 24.2% stake in the company is in any danger. In fact, before Herbalife goes ahead and mops up the excess shares in the market, and while it’s trading at a bit of a discount besides, Icahn thought he might get a little closer to the 34.99% stake he’s allowed to buy. And if the stock should consequently be rising to coincide with the movie's release, well, that'd be nice, too.
According to a new filing, Icahn snapped up 372,342 additional shares. The 81-year-old billionaire now owns 22,872,342 shares, or 24.57% of the shares outstanding, a position valued at nearly $1.2 billion. Icahn’s average purchase price for the stake amounts to $962.01 million, the filing notes.
Shares of Herbalife were last trading up more than 3% in the pre-market at $53.95. The stock is up 8.5% since January.
Carl Icahn buys more Herbalife shares, stock jumps [Yahoo Finance]