Icahn Sells $600 Million Herbalife Stake, Gives Up Board Seats

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Billionaire investor Carl Icahn will sell about $600 million-worth of his stake in Herbalife Nutrition Ltd., further winding down his holdings in the nutritional-supplements company after a tumultuous eight-year investment.

Herbalife has agreed to repurchase the shares from Icahn at $48.05 each, which was the closing price on Thursday, according to a statement on Sunday. The billionaire is also giving up his five seats on the board of the company, while Icahn Enterprises LP will trim its holdings to about 6% on or before Jan. 7.

The 84-year-old investor will no longer be Herbalife’s biggest shareholder after the transaction, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Herbalife has been a part of Icahn’s portfolio since 2013, when he bought into the stock months after fellow activist investor Bill Ackman took a short position in the company and labeled it a pyramid scheme. Icahn and Ackman publicly clashed over their investments multiple times, with Icahn defending Herbalife’s marketing model and even suggesting he might take the company private. Management has also repeatedly denied the pyramid-scheme allegations.

In 2018, after Ackman almost completely exited his own stake, Icahn said he’d enjoyed “a good fight” and that his investment had yielded a $1 billion return on paper.

Icahn sold $679.3 million of Herbalife shares in the third quarter of 2020, according to an earlier filing, the first time he’d cut his stake in the company in two years. He was left with a 16% stake worth about $946 million at the time, the filing showed.

“The time for activism has passed as the company has grown, and I don’t typically invest billions of dollars in companies where our role as activist is not needed,” Icahn said in the Sunday statement. “That being said, Herbalife Nutrition’s products and business opportunity are needed now more than ever, and I look forward to remaining a shareholder of the company.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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