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Did Carl Icahn Pull A Fast One On Bill Ackman?

Herbalife LTD. NYSE:HLF - Did Carl Icahn Pull A Fast One On Bill Ackman?

Chalk up another win for Carl Icahn in his highly-public and possibly personal beef with billionaire rival Bill Ackman.

Icahn and Ackman famously hold massive positions on two different sides of controversial Herbalife Ltd. HLF 4.61%. So far, Icahn, who is long, has gotten the best of Ackman, who is short.

Last Friday, however, Herbalife stock took a 2.3 percent hit when Ackman told CNBC that Jefferies Group had approached Ackman about buying a portion of Icahn’s large stake in Herbalife. The implication was that Icahn was looking to exit or dial back his position in Herbalife triggered the market selloff, but Icahn quickly stepped into the mix himself.

“Completely contrary to what Bill Ackman stated on television today, I have never given Jefferies an order to sell any of our Herbalife shares,” Icahn said in a statement. More importantly, Icahn disclosed that he had actually increased his Herbalife stake by 2.3 million shares.

“It amazes me that a guy who hasn’t any knowledge of my internal investment thinking believes he is in a position to go on television to tell the world what I AM thinking!” Icahn added.

Herbalife stock popped 3.7 percent on Monday following Icahn’s statement.

CNBC also reported Saturday that sources claim Jefferies and UBS were, in fact, working independently to locate a buyer for Icahn’s Herbalife stake. Some are now speculating that Icahn was simply trying to drive down the share price so he could add to his position.

The media may not know the full story behind what Icahn’s strategy is when it comes to Herbalife and whether or not Ackman’s involvement was simply part of Icahn’s game. However, one thing seems certain: the Icahn/Ackman Herbalife battle is far from over.

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