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Herbalife Is A Pyramid Scheme: Hedge Fund Manager


Bill Ackman, the head guy at the Pershing Square Capital Management hedge fund, is convinced that Herbalife is a pyramid scheme.

Herbalife, a multilevel marketing company that sells nutritional supplements, reportedly has $4 billion in annual sales and about three million independent distributors in 87 countries.

The Denver Post has more on Bill Ackman’s crusade against Herbalife:

“[Ackman] claims it’s a pyramid scheme that takes advantage of desperate and unsophisticated people. He says it simply must be shut down by the Federal Trade Commission. He has shorted the stock and said he expects its value to go to zero once this happens.”

According to Yahoo! Finance, Ackman — who is described as an activist investor — wants federal regulators to thoroughly look into the matter:

“We’re prepared to spend whatever it costs and do whatever is required to make sure that the world understands the facts about this company.If the government comes out and determines that this is a legal business then I will lobby congress for them to change the law.”

Businessweek summarizes Ackman’s main beef with Herbalife:

“Ackman’s chief argument is that Herbalife products are commodities sold at inflated prices to mask incentives that mostly enrich the top echelon of distributors. He estimates that more than 90 percent of profits earned by distributors come from recruiting. Herbalife’s [spokeswoman Barb] Henderson disputed this in an interview, saying that amount is zero.”

Herbalife, which has an investor conference on Thursday during which it is expected to refute the allegations, claims that Ackman is “manipulating markets to profit from more than 20 million short shares held by his hedge fund.”

Ackman’s 334-slide Herbalife public presentation originally made on December 20 can be found here.

Have you ever been involved with multilevel marketing?

Watch Bill Ackman’s interview on CNN about Herbalife:

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64 Responses to “Herbalife Is A Pyramid Scheme: Hedge Fund Manager”

  1. Anonymous

    And this coming from a CROOK. How hilarious. Choir boy ackman has never committed fraud. How hilarious.

  2. Anonymous

    Wall Street is raping all Americans and this gay clown has the nerve to say herbalife are crooks. Just hilarious. Wonder who is paying this fag to take on herbalife.

  3. Anonymous

    Hey silly billy, guess what. Legal definition of a pyramid scheme is a company with no product. You should know that dimwit.

  4. Anonymous

    Lotteries are a ripoff, and take advantage of the poor. Close down lotteries fool.

  5. Anonymous

    I would not trust a single word that silly billy ackman has to say. You can look at the ignorant liar and see he is a crook. Talk about the numerous poor that became rich in multi level companies. Most, if not all American companies will never make a worker rich, unless they work there for 50-70 years. Let's talk about McDonald's, Walmart as pyramid schemes you crook.

  6. Anonymous

    Aww shucks…..can't even use the word "douchebag" for this fruitcake. I bet dollars to doo-doo that this clown has his own corporation in the works that he thinks will take the place of Herbalife as soon as he gets it shut down….tsk tsk.

  7. Monte Molencamp

    At a panel meeting discussing Bernie Madoff in January 2009, Ackman defended J. Ezra Merkin stating, "I think [Merkin] is an honest person, an intelligent person, an interesting person, a smart investor."[12] On April 6, 2009, Merkin was charged with civil fraud by the State of New York, for "secretly steering $2.4 billion in client money into Bernard Madoff's Ponzi fraud without their permission."[13] A settlement was reached on June 2012 requiring Merkin to pay $405 million to victims including the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.[14].

    Who here is dishonest?

  8. Danny Kitchens

    Why did he choose this company. Why not challenge the industry of MLM. If he's right, what happens to the rest of the MLM's?

  9. Cindi Catwalk Sprock

    I use to buy this product until I found out that my distributor was ripping me off big time! She would charge me more than the product was worth and pocketed the extra money. I found this out when the actual company sent me a brochure/catalog of all their products with all the real prices listed. She didn't have much to say when I informed her that I knew what she had done to me. I did make sure that she couldn't do this to any one else. I reported her to the company and they fired her!

  10. Anonymous

    its because he's shorting 20 million shares of Herbalife. He makes a gazillion $$ if the shares drop in value

  11. Linda Lai

    Herbalife has always been a pyramid scheme; so is Amway scamway and the Federal Government needs to get rid of both.

  12. Jon Hancock

    So he shorts their stock and then through his actions he is trying to shut it down. Wouldn't that be similar to insider trading?

  13. Don Flowers

    Sure it is, just like almost every other sales corp. out there… why such a big deal now? Amway out there in similar market has been one for over 40 years…. sell a little, make a little… recruit a lot of people who all sell a little, you make a mint….nothing new………

  14. Bruce Arner

    Just know figuring it out, what a dumb ass, Herbalife has been around for decades, me and the wife signed up back in the late eighty's, we new it was a pyramid scam back then. Were has this guy been?

  15. Dan Schlamp

    He holds 20 million short shares, and is trying to bash them to the point of crashing, where he cashes in…

  16. Dody VerSluis

    Millions go into showbiz but only a handful make big money. Millions have worked at automotive companies, but again only a precious few get really rich. Everything works this way. While talent and effort count, it is not always the most talented who makes the most! Certainly NOT always the guy working hardest earning the most. Amway products are really terrific. I love using the best.

  17. Jeff Davis

    Exactly. Who hasn't known that herbalife, amway, etc. aren't all pyramid schemes? Many countries outlaw these business models.

  18. Linda Lai

    They should look at the industry of MLM's and get rid of them; I don't trust any of them.

  19. David Ashton

    Anyone who is saying that Amway, Herbalife or Avon are Pyramid Schemes are definitely in need of some education on their ignorance. I am not involved in these companies nor am I a distributor in any other networking company at the moment – just so you know – however I educated myself and researched this industry thoroughly. I recommend anyone who has zero knowledge of this industry research first before making any uneducated comments. If this guy can be sued, unless hedge fund managers can say anything publicly that they want, then in the long run he is in big trouble financially and will have to leave this industry.

  20. Margie Turley

    This is hooey! Herbalife as enriched the lives of millions both health wise and financially. This guy is nuts and should really check this out before he toots his horn. He is wrong in every sense of the word… And no I am not with Herbalife!

  21. Margie Turley

    Network marketing is the way of the future and is one of the few ways to earn a living with little capitol and be paid what you are worth.

  22. Scott Johnson

    So do I, and another scam everyone should be aware of is the Amway Tool Scam. Google "Stop The Amway Tool Scam WordPress" for more information, and forward this to every non-Distributor/IBO you know, so they don't get scammed.

  23. Linda Tennies

    This guy has "I'm about to get busted for misusing the funds I'm managing so I need to get the attention off of myself" written all over him. And I love how there are still people so uninformed that they think multi-levels are "pyramid schemes." With access to decades of data disputing that fact, it's sad that people still bury their head in that drivel. Let's get educated, people. Do your own homework.

  24. Ron Lane

    He is a hedge fund head and he is shorting his position on them and then telling everyone that its a pyramid so that the price will drop and he can make money. I think the SEC should investigate him for trying to manipulate the market.

  25. Eileen Wojdula

    I went to a Herbalife recruitment show in the '80s. It was a real medicine show that targeted the unsophisticated and vulnerable. Tried their products and they messed up my system. Would have nothing to do with them.

  26. Eileen Wojdula

    Went to a Herbalife medicine show in the '80s and it was targeted at the unsophisticated and vulnerable. Real razzle dazzle. Tried their products and they messed up my system; I would have nothing to do with them. Get 'em Ackman!

  27. Barbara Sladovich

    I almost sucked into Herbal Life once. I attended one seminar and put off by cult-like behaviors and after one "member" told me they could cure any cancer I fled. Very creepy experience.

  28. John Lieske


  29. Anonymous

    Why doesn't this guy, or someone else, go after the largest pyramid scheme in the world and shut them down…..It's the US Government and social security!

  30. Darrin Thompson

    Herbal Life is no different than any other company. The "traditional" business model spends billions on advertising, which "legitimitizes" it's products or brands. Herbalife pays commisions to individuals to back/legitimitize there products. This doesn't make it illegal, it makes it cost effective and provides an opportunity to share in the profits. Every business model is a pyramid in structure. Every major corporation in this country exploits nievity and provides illusions of financial security. We all at some point get a job with the bedazzlement of the lifestyle that could be obtained. This guy is the crook. Question of the hour? Why would you invest in a company believed to be a scheme and then short the stock to gain a profit? Bottom of the Unscrupulous barrel. True Corporate Raider.

  31. Charles Brister

    Good tasting affordable products. I participated in weight lost contest and won second place. Lost 30lbs.
    The Herbal life representatives were very knowledgeable about health and nutrition. Never felt pressured to become a distributor. The companies been a around for years, and has a popular product line. Sure if you sell product there's commisions to be made. If you train and help others do the same you earn more. Nothing wrong with that.
    Can't say I saw any openly poor people at the meetings and events. Now if Ackman were truly concerned about poor people he would criticize those in the tobacco, alcohol and payday loan businesses.

  32. Scott Johnson

    Another scam everyone should be aware of is the Amway Tool Scam. Google "Stop The Amway Tool Scam WordPress" for more information, and forward this to every non-Distributor/IBO you know, so they don't get scammed.

  33. Mary Dorcy

    The guy appears to be a total douchebag but what are any other multi-level home sell companies…..previously mentioned Avon and MaryKay, how about ThirtyOne, Scentsy, Tastefully Simple, Pampered Chef, Partylite…..seriously WHO THE F@@K cares.

  34. Angel Ortiz

    In my nightmares of yesteryears I saw Christianity as an MLM at its best, and in some degree a big scam, too. Now-a-day I am a believer, so I hate myself for that thought, but I can't stop the fantasy of the thin line that divide both illusions, being able to be a 'diamond' or actually 'getting to heaven'.

  35. Chris Micek

    I have this odd feeling you sell MLM products. So how many "RICH" People have you actually met at those conventions? How many Ferrari's are in that parking lot ? I have seen these conventions and can say none. Most of the people are middle class people. They work a real job and bust their ass doing this. Always one that hamster wheel. So give me a break your argument is mute! Look at the facts not the slides they show at the ra ra meetings !

  36. Kevin Amsberry

    Ackman should go to jail for trying to manipulate and short the stock. The fact Herbal Life has been around for 30+ years should be enough. Mary Kay, Avon, Amway, everyone knows it's MLM. No secrets cuz they tell you upfront how it works if you want to play.

  37. Scott Johnson

    There have been plenty of pyramid schemes shut down by the FTC that had products.

  38. Dale Koehrsen

    Chris, hate to say it, but you are clueless. Full disclosure: I have been involved in the home based/ networking industry for 22 years. I will not quote my income, since you would not believe me anyway. How many "rich" people have I met? That depends on your definition of "rich". Would making multiple millions (or an average of over 150k per year, for many years qualify?) If so, I have met, and worked with, not dozens, but hundreds. I only have 2 other points: How many millionaires do YOU know? How did they do it? If it wasn't for network marketing, I would only know a few. Last point: Yes many "bust their ass" and are not successful. All the ones who are successful, definitely busted their ass. Now, how about the "real" world? How about other business'? If you open a restaurant for hundreds of thousands of dollars, what are your chances? Yep. Less than 3%. So you need to educate yourself and wise up.

  39. Brian Mathers

    I just had a client lose 17 lbs after her 1st week on a program! :-) Pyramid scheme or not, their products are amazing ;-).

    That aside – what makes a pyramid scheme? A pyramid scheme occurs when there is a steep buy-in (usually) and others profit off simply recruiting and having people register with the business. Herbalife is MLM – it costs a measly $67 (after shipping) to start with Herbalife, and people do not make a single dime from the simple act of you registering with the company. People only make money off PRODUCTION, i.e. "selling". Therefore, $0 is made through the act of recruiting, money is only made when a sale occurs. That's MLM. Welcome to the information age, business is changing.

  40. Joseph Parrott

    there are many mlm companies that provide substantial income for their distributors in the USA and worldwide- Robert Kiosaki (author of Rich Dad Poor Dad) recommends them- mlm companies provide an opportunity for those willing to put forth an effort to sell and teach others how to sell very good products.

  41. Bill Dobson

    I am continually amazed at peoples prejudices toward referral marketing. Sure there are companies that have lesser quality products, that rip off the less fortunate. Ever been to Wal-Mart. I'm guessing the Walton's and a few top managers are billionaires from the sweat of underpaid workers and the purchases of cheap plastic crap. Network Marketing companies also deliver some of the finest products and services in the world, while empowering people to choose to work as a Professional and make professional money, or choose to work part time for extra cash aand get great products at a wholesale discount. Hedge Funds, and the Stock Market are the scams.

  42. Scott Rothstein

    Insurance, Banking, Stock Market, Mutual Funds, are all schemes. My definition, if all the investors and or consumers decide to withdraw or collect from the investment will the investment have enough money to pay everyone back? In almost all of the investments and insurance products sold the above statement would be a quantified no. Unfortunately by declaring a business a corporation no one ever goes to jail.

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