Icahn says funding available, if wanted, for Herbalife bid -CNBC

Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:53pm EST

Feb 15 (Reuters) - The controversy surrounding Herbalife Ltd should not prevent a willing buyer for the company from being able to finance a takeover, billionaire investor Carl Icahn told CNBC on Friday.

Icahn declined to comment on whether his firm, Icahn Enterprises LP, would launch a tender offer for shares of the weight loss products company, a day after revealing a 13 percent ownership stake and a desire to explore strategic options for Herbalife.

The famed corporate raider did say that financing a takeover would not be a problem.

"I think we would definitely get capital if we needed it," Icahn told the business news station. "You can imagine I've had calls from a number of investment bankers and people with capital. We have capital ourselves."

Icahn has positioned himself against rival investor Bill Ackman, who has shorted Herbalife stock and said he sees the share price going to zero.

Icahn said he did not think a private equity firm would be needed in a deal for the company, which Ackman has called "a pyramid scheme."

"I don't think you need a private equity firm for this," Icahn said.

Herbalife shares were up $2.90, or 7.6 percent, at $41.17 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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