NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Weight management product manufacturer and multilevel marketing company Herbalife (HLF) has come under fire for appearing to be a pyramid scheme. However, Herbalife "is undervalued" and "serves a purpose," Icahn Enterprises Chairman Carl Icahn argued on CNBC's "Halftime Report" on Wednesday.
"The model has worked for many, many years in many countries. It certainly makes for employment," Icahn said. The company's products are "good," and its vitamins have helped prevent Icahn from getting a cold, he claimed.
Herbalife announced last Tuesday that Michael Johnson would be resigning as CEO at the end of May.
Johnson did a "great job" and brought the company through years of "unnecessary opprobrium," Icahn said. "Did some distributors say things and do things that maybe they shouldn't have done? I'm not going to get into that."
His firm raised its stake in Herbalife to 24.18% from 23.04% as of November 8, CNBC reports.
"I have the right to go to 50% of it. I'm not saying what I'm doing but obviously I have been buying it, and I think it's undervalued," Icahn said.
"Are you still thinking about taking it private?" CNBC's Scott Wapner asked.
"I can't really comment on that. You know, we're on the board, and I have this confidentiality with the board," Icahn answered.
Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has been trying to destroy the company, but Icahn has "no personal animosity" with him, he claimed. "I sort of like him. I mean I think he's an interesting guy. But I just think that he's dead wrong in this area. And it's unfortunate, but sooner or later that's going to come to a head."
Shares of Herbalife were slightly higher in mid-afternoon trading on Wednesday.
Separately, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author.
TheStreet Ratings team rates HerbaLife as a Hold with a ratings score of C. The primary factors that have impacted the team's rating are mixed - some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks.
You can view the full analysis from the report here: HLFHLF data by YCharts