Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has received three more seats on the board at Herbalife, which he has supported as short-sellers attack its business practices. Herbalife shares were up 6.8 percent in early afternoon trading on March 24th, when they got a boost from news that rival direct-seller NU Skin Enterprises Inc had been fined $540,000 by Chinese regulators for illegal sales practices. NU Skin’s shares were up at 18.6 percent.
Icahn is Herbalife’s biggest shareholder, with a 16.8 percent stake. The billionaire told CNBC on Monday, March 24th, that the value of his stake had increased about $300 million since he bought into the stock. In contrast, the company’s most prominent critic, Bill Ackman, described Herbalife as his fund’s biggest-ever loser as recently as February. The investor renewed his attack on Herbalife last month when he said he had evidence the company was breaking direct-selling laws in China, its fastest-growing market.
“We remain resolute in our commitment to the long term success of Herbalife,” Icahn said in a statement.
Along with three new directors, Icahn will have five seats on the 13-member Herbalife board. Icahn will continue to have the right to buy up to 25 percent of Herbalife. The Los Angeles-based company said Carole Black, Michael Levitt and Colombe Nicholas would step down from the board, making way for Icahn’s nominees.