A week ago, we highlighted something that very few had noticed– an FTC retweet regarding Herbalife. To wit:
Retweets are not endorsements… but they really usually are. Which is the reason some are wondering just why did the FTC show a specific appreciation of this particular tweet sent out yesterday by a user who appears to have a bone to pick with Herbalife, Nu Skin and other alleged pyramid schemes:
#NCPW2014 Why have you not shut down pyramid schemes like Herbalife, Nu Skin and others? What is the FTC waiting for?
— AS (@ArbitrageIt) March 4, 2014
Seen here in the FTC’s twitter stream, where incidentally there are virtually no other retweets:
We wondered out loud:
So which is it: is the FTC proud of its lack of action on alleged pyramid schemes and decided to call attention to this tweet, or is it a hint that something bigger is coming in the stock that otherwise is quite irrelevant, if it weren’t for the epic billionaire pissing match between Carl Icahn and Bill Ackman, which we be resolved either when HLF is LBOed and Ackman’s biggest loss of all time gets even bigger, or when Icahn faces a loss of a few hundred million, which to him is nothing, but losing face to Ackman – everything?
Turns out the tweet was not an accident, and moments ago Herbalife after being halted, announced that indeed the FTC is going after it:
Herbalife (NYSE: HLF) announced it received today a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In response, Herbalife issued the following statement:
Herbalife welcomes the inquiry given the tremendous amount of misinformation in the marketplace, and will cooperate fully with the FTC. We are confident that Herbalife is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Herbalife is a financially strong and successful company, having created meaningful value for shareholders, significant opportunities for distributors and positively impacted the lives and health of its consumers for over 34 years.
Herbalife does not intend to make any additional comments regarding this matter unless and until there are material developments.
Looks like all that lobby spending by Ackman finally worked. And now, Uncle Carl has to outspend Ackman’s lobbyists to impress the whores in Washington even more and to make sure the FTC fishing expedition finds nothing new.
And the market’s reaction… from a $68.30 pre-halt close…
Bottom line: it cost Bill Ackman $250,000 to launch an FTC investigation. The only question is whether Carl Icahn will bat an eyelid when spending $250,000,000 to end it?