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Herbalife investor Stiritz cuts holding; Icahn lifts his: filing

An Herbalife logo is shown on a poster at a clinic in the Mission District in San Francisco, California April 29, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/File Photo

BOSTON (Reuters) - William Stiritz, one of the largest investors in Herbalife Ltd, cut his stake in the nutrition and weight loss company to 1.4 percent at the end of the fourth quarter from 5.2 percent a year ago, according to a regulatory filing on Tuesday.

At the same time billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who has sparred with rival billionaire William Ackman over the company’s future and has long been Herbalife’s biggest owner, raised his stake during the fourth quarter. He now owns 22.5 million shares, marking a 14 percent increase from the end of the third quarter, according to a regulatory filing.

Stiritz, the non-executive chairman of cereal maker Post Holdings who had been chief executive officer of the company until late 2014, said in a 13G/A filing that he owns roughly 1.3 million shares in Herbalife, or 1.4 percent.

On Feb. 16, 2016, he made a similar filing where he said he cut his holding to 5.2 percent from 8.2 percent.

Stiritz had been a staunch supporter of Herbalife in its long-running battle with hedge fund manager Ackman, who has accused the company of running a pyramid scheme. Herbalife has repeatedly denied those allegations.

Ackman made a $1 billion short bet against the company in 2012 when the stock was trading around $47 a share. It is now trading at $60.15. Icahn famously took the other side of Ackman’s bet and now has a handful of directors on the company’s board.

Tuesday marks the deadline for investment managers to show what they owned at the end of the fourth quarter.

Route One Investment Company raised its investment by 33 percent to own 5.2 million shares while Deccan Value Investors nearly doubled its investment to own 7.6 million shares. Indus Capital Partners meanwhile cut its stake by 17 percent to 2.3 million shares and also reduced its call options by 17 percent to 2.8 million.

Reporting By Dave Gregorio