First, hedge fund titans Bill Ackman, Carl Icahn and Daniel Loeb tussled publicly over whether Herbalife Ltd. (HLF:US) is a pyramid scheme. Now their names are popping up online in ominous-sounding domain names, including “therealcarlicahn.com” and “therealdanielloeb.com.”
While Herbalife registered several domain names referencing Ackman after he accused the nutrition company of running a pyramid scheme, it’s unclear who or what entity is behind the ones referencing Icahn and Loeb. They were privately registered through Register.com and currently don’t lead to any actual websites.
Icahn has criticized Ackman for shorting more than 20 million Herbalife shares, and Loeb’s funds disclosed a large position after Ackman, founder of New York hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management LP, went public with his bet. Earlier this month, Herbalife registered more than 10 domain names that reference Ackman, including “therealbillackman.com,” according to www.domainsearch.com.
Then yesterday the Loeb and Icahn domain names popped up.
Ackman and Pershing had nothing to do with the domain registrations, said a company spokesman. Icahn and Loeb didn’t return calls seeking comment about the latest domain names.
Yesterday Ackman, founder of New York hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management LP, took issue with the domain names Herbalife registered using his name.
“What legitimate company would do something like that,” he said in a telephone interview. “The spotlight is on Herbalife and they are doing everything they can do to turn it away.”
Ackman has his own website: factsaboutherbalife.com.
This month, Herbalife held an investor meeting to defend its direct-selling model and said Ackman had grossly mischaracterized its business.
The debate over Herbalife sparked a public dispute between Ackman and Icahn last week when they sparred on CNBC about the company and past dealings with each other. Icahn later said on Bloomberg Television he didn’t “like” or “respect” Ackman.
Ackman’s shorting of Herbalife was countered by fellow hedge-fund manager Loeb. On Jan. 9, three weeks after Ackman disclosed his bet against Herbalife, Loeb’s Third Point LLC disclosed that its hedge funds held 8.9 million shares of Herbalife at year-end.
Herbalife’s shares have rebounded since Ackman first made his comments. They fell 4.1 percent to $37.09 at the close in New York, up from a low of $26.06 after Ackman’s presentation.
The website HybridDomainer.com reported the Icahn and Loeb domains earlier today.
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