It’s a rare admission for a cocksure hedge fund boss. But that’s what we just heard from Bill Ackman, who acknowledged during an interview with Bloomberg that his hours-long presentation on Herbalife that promised to deliver “a deathblow” to the nutritional supplement company was a “PR failure.”
Ackman, who is betting a $1-billion that he can provide proof that Herbalife is a fraud-ridden pyramid scheme, saw shares of the company soar 25% during his screed (paywall), in which which he employed hundreds of documents and slides and even fielded questions from his father to make his case. Herbalife for its part has denied Ackman’s allegations and spent millions defending itself from the prominent hedge fund manager, who runs Pershing Square Capital Management.
Here’s Ackman summing up the blustery event held at the AXA Equitable Center in midtown Manhattan last week: “It was a PR failure,” he told Bloomberg. “I think we raised expectations. People were looking for the dead body and the smoking gun and instead what they got was a three-hour detailed regulatory presentation.”
Ackman said it was “my bad” for overhyping the event and failing to produce a smoking gun. He also described himself as “his own worst enemy” when asked if he received any advice on how to present his public case against Herbalife.
Herbalife’s shares have seemed to do worse when the company is left to its own devices. Earlier this week the stock in fact did sink after the company posted quarterly results that disappointed the market. But rest assured, Ackman most certainly will be back in the spotlight. He’s got too much riding on Herbalife’s demise to back down now.