Greenberg: Herbalife Audit Irrelevant to the Bigger Story

SAN DIEGO (TheStreet) -- Yep, I know, with audited results Herbalife (HLF) is free to do a big buyback, go private, whatever.

BUT, in listening to Carl Icahn talk earlier today on CNBC about how the auditors somehow validate that Herbalife is a viable biz, all I could think: Let's not forget, the role of the auditor is to determine whether the numbers are audited in accordance with GAAP, not to weigh in on the bigger controversy, that is whether the company is operating an illegal pyramid scheme.

And this re-audit of Herbalife's statements isn't because the company's numbers are suspect; instead, it arises because its former auditor had engaged in insider trading on Herbalife's stock.

The company says there are no material changes in the audited reports, but it will be interesting to see just what changes there are. (Materiality, after all, is in the eyes of the beholder.)

Also, for what it's worth: In his interview on CNBC, Icahn was dancing around some the issues, notably marketing, with comments akin to... "Could their marketing be different...?" He just sounded more sober, though I may be reading to much into it.


-- Written by Herb Greenberg in San Diego

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Herb Greenberg, editor of Herb Greenberg's Reality Check, is a contributor to CNBC. He does not own shares, short or trade shares in an individual corporate security.

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