Ackman worried if regulators would eye Herbalife

NEW YORK Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:27pm EST

NEW YORK Feb 13 (Reuters) - Hedge fund manager William Ackman, who has called nutritional supplements company Herbalife a pyramid scheme, said the biggest risk in shorting the company was whether regulators would take time to focus on the company.

"The risk in shorting this company was whether we could get the world to focus on it," Ackman said at the Harbor Investing Conference. "Could we get the SEC, the FTC and the regulators around the world interested," he asked.

Ackman, whose $12 billion Pershing Square Capital Management said in December that it was making a rare short bet against Herbalife, has faced a whirlwind of questions about the bet ever since and touched on it again on Wednesday at the investment conference.

He criticized the company for not responding quickly enough to a series of questions that the New York-based hedge fund asked about its operation. Ackman said any other company could have answered his questions, which he called "basic," within 24 hours.