Feb 15 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 television 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, whose Pershing Square Capital Management has called
Herbalife a pyramid scheme and said he expects the share price
to go to zero.
Icahn said he did not think a private equity firm would be
needed in a deal for the company. "I don't think you need a
private equity firm for this," Icahn said.
As Icahn battles Ackman in his view of the future of
Herbalife, both men are convinced of their own analysis.
"We invest based on a careful analysis of the facts," Ackman
said in a statement on Friday, adding "After 18 months of due
diligence, we have concluded that it is a certainty that
Herbalife is a pyramid scheme." He also said that investors
like Carl Icahn are helping his firm shine a light on Herbalife.
Icahn had been rumored for weeks to have a position in
Herbalife and made it public in a regulatory filing on Thursday
when he said he started buying Herbalife on Dec. 20, the day
that Ackman spent three hours making his short bet public.
According to the filing, Icahn now owns 2.47 million shares
Herbalife and has options on another 11.54 million shares.
Herbalife shares were up 5.7 percent to $40.47 in Friday
afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.