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Icahn: Ackman is the one backed into a corner on Herbalife

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn rejected any assertion Tuesday that he is backed into a corner on troubled nutritional supplement company Herbalife.

In fact, he said it's his long-time rival, Bill Ackman, who has the far more tenuous position.

"If anyone should feel boxed in, it's Ackman," Icahn said in an exclusive interview with CNBC.com. "Ackman is an astute student of the market, as I am, and I think he would probably agree that there is very rarely, if ever, a company with the short interest, as it was just announced of 27.2 million shares of the 92 million shares outstanding. Of the 92 million, there are 20 percent to 25 percent that are closely held."

"The only time you see the ratio very close to that is in companies that are on the verge of bankruptcy," he added. "Obviously, Herbalife is not anywhere near that...


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