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Wednesday
Jan162013

Herbalife CEO Fires Back At Short Seller Bill Ackman

Last month, Bill Ackman, who runs $11 billion Pershing Square Capital Management, presented a three-hour-long short thesis explaining why he thinks Herbalife is a pyramid scheme.

The CEO of Herbalife, Michael Johnson, fired back Thursday with a 100+ slide presentation effectively countering Mr. Ackman's thesis, defending not only Herbalife, but the Multi-Level Marketing  business model as well.  The entire presentation and webcast is available here.

As of Wednesday evening, the Securities & Exhange Commission has now opened an investigation into Herbalife, and that might be good news for the company's investors if it clears the company's name, as I believe it will do.  It's a baseless accusation.  

The real issue here is the strategy of the pursuit of gain and wealth by "shorting", and the destruction Mr. Ackman's strategic game has meant to many people's portfolios.  Listen to Mr. Johnson's defense of Herbalife on CNBC on December 19th, and decide for yourself.  

Pyramid scheme accusations surface from time to time in the direct selling world, and most times those accusations are a complete misunderstanding of a business model that provides a career level earning opportunity for many and extra earnings for even more people.  

I am proud that the direct selling community has a vocal defender in Mr. Johnson.  In leading Herbalife, he heads up an important contributor to the Direct Selling Association, whose members uphold the highest levels of ethics in the industry.   May the defender of opportunity and builder of entrepreneurs win this game.

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