Just minutes ahead of the billionaire hedge fund manager's investor call Friday to discuss troubled pharmaceutical giant Valeant (VRX) , Alan Hoffman, the executive vice president of global corporate affairs at Herbalife (HLF) - Get Report , issued a statement:
I hope Bill Ackman has done more research on Valeant than he did on Herbalife, Target, Borders and JC Penney.
Well trolled, Herbalife, well trolled.
Ackman, who runs the hedge fund Pershing Square, has famously been engaged in an all-out war with Herbalife for nearly three years. He first announced back in 2012 that he had taken an enormous short position in the nutritional supplements company, betting that what he has alleged is a pyramid scheme will drive the firm's stock price to zero. He has promised to take the wager "to the end of the earth" and called his mission "philanthropic."
But lately, Ackman has found himself on the other side of the short stick, specifically with regard to Valeant. The company has come under enormous scrutiny in the wake of a report from Citron Research accusing it of creating a network of "phantom" pharmacies to falsify sales and avoid auditor scrutiny. Valeant has denied the allegations and Friday cut ties with one of the controversial establishments in question, Philidor.
Still, the stock has collapsed, and Ackman has lost big. Its decline pushed his Pershing Square's year-to-date losses to 15.9% last week.
To think that just months ago he was calling Valeant the next Berkshire Hathaway.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.