The FTC settlement with Herbalife Ltd. unveiled earlier Friday is another blow for activist investor William Ackman. While the deal includes fines and obliges Herbalife to restructure its operations, it falls short of deeming it a pyramid scheme as Ackman has long argued, sending its stock up almost 20% in early trade. Ackman bet $1 billion against the stock in 2012, and has waged an aggressive and often bitter campaign to persuade regulators it was a pyramid scheme. Other investors, notably billionaire Carl Icahn, took a stance against Ackman by investing heavily in the stock, further squeezing his position. Ackman’s Pershing Square hedge fund had lost 26% in the year through March 16 and Standard & Poor’s has the company’s BBB rating on review for a possible downgrade. Pershing also owned 21.6 million shares of troubled drug company Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. as of June 9, which has lost 78% of its value in the year so far.
Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.