"Completely contrary to what Bill Ackman stated on television
today, I have never given Jefferies an order to sell any of our
Herbalife shares," Icahn said in a statement after market close.
Ackman, who unveiled a $1 billion short bet against Herbalife in
2012, said on CNBC earlier in the day that Icahn's planned stake
sale would accelerate the company's downfall.
"I continue to believe in Herbalife," Icahn said, disclosing a
20.78 percent stake in the company.
He held 18.32 percent of Herbalife as of July 15.
Icahn and Ackman have opposing bets on Los Angeles-based
Herbalife. Ackman for years has accused Herbalife of running a
pyramid scheme and bet that the stock would fall to zero.
The duo even became embroiled in a public war of words, with
Icahn famously calling Ackman a "liar" and a "crybaby" in a CNBC
interview in 2013.
Icahn on Friday said Ackman had "developed a very bad case of
While Ackman has lost money on his short bet over the years,
Icahn has made money but his gains are now at risk of shrinking
as the stock has fallen in the last few days.
The investors' comments come a little over a month after the
company agreed to pay $200 million and change the way it does
business to avoid being labeled a pyramid scheme by U.S.
Following the settlement with regulators, Herbalife said its
board had cleared the way for Icahn to boost his stake in the
company to as much as 35 percent.
Investment bank Jefferies Group has been trying to find buyers
for Icahn's Herbalife stake for about a month, the Wall Street
Journal reported on Friday.
Sources told Reuters on Thursday that Icahn was considering
structuring a sale of Herbalife shares.
"We appreciate the support of all of our investors and are
particularly grateful to Carl Icahn and the conviction he
shares, and continues to show in our business," Herbalife CEO
Michael Johnson said.
Ackman could not be reached for comment, while Jefferies was not
immediately available for comment.
(Reporting by Bhanu Pratap, Sruthi Ramakrishnan and Gayathree
Ganesan in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Svea
Herbst-Bayliss in Boston; Editing by Savio D'Souza, Saumyadeb
Chakrabarty and Shounak Dasgupta)
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