The investor Carl Icahn said Wednesday that his Icahn Enterprises (IEP) - Get Icahn Enterprises L.P. Report sold about 14.7 million shares of Herbalife Nutrition (HLF) - Get Herbalife Nutrition Ltd. Report but remains the nutritional-supplement company's largest holder with 15.5%.
Shares of Herbalife Nutrition, Los Angeles, at last check were down 1% to $48.57, while Icahn Enterprises, New York, was up 1% to $56.40.
Icahn still owns about 20.5 million shares of Herbalife. He said in a statement that "we continue to strongly believe in the great future of the company."
The stock sale was part of Herbalife Nutrition's self-tender offer. The company said it would buy back up to $750 million of its shares at $48.75 each.
Herbalife Nutrition said the shares represented about 10.4% of the shares outstanding as of Aug. 10.
The company said it expected to fund the share purchases in the tender offer with cash on hand.
"IEP’s investment in Herbalife is a quintessential example of our activist investment strategy," Icahn said.
"In late 2012 and early 2013, the stock was meaningfully out of favor for a number of reasons. We studied the business and assessed the risks. At that time, we concluded that the risk/reward ratio was very favorable."
IEP amassed a holding and joined the board, Icahn said, and "our directors worked closely with management to stabilize the company."
"We believe that all shareholders have benefited from our involvement with the company," Icahn said.
"An investment in Herbalife made on the first day we began purchasing shares would have earned a total return of approximately 200% through yesterday."
Last week, Herbalife Nutrition said second-quarter net sales totaled $1.3 billion, up 8.6% from a year earlier. The figure was the largest quarterly net sales result in its history.