>> Wall Street titan Bill Ackman has walked away from a billion dollar bet. The silver haired head of Pershing Square Capital Management let slip on Wednesday that he was done fighting over nutrition company Herbalife. Six years ago, Ackman staked a billion dollars that Herbalife stock would go to zero.
He called the company a fraud and said it was worthless. Betting against a public company is called going short and Ackman short position cost him dearly. Rather than drop, Herbalife stock has more than doubled since Ackman staked his claim. The battle drew in another massive financial ego, corporate raider Carl Icon, who bought into Herbalife.
A spat between Ackman and Icahn live on CNBC devolved into name-calling. Ackman's war against Herbal Life saw him try and transform into something of a social activist, arguing the firm was a pyramid scheme exploiting minority workers. The US Federal Trade Commission probed the mater and eventually reached the settlement with Herbalife involving a $200 million penalty and requirements that the company reform some of its business practices.
But the company survived, even thrived. Investors in Ackman's $9 billion fund quietly applauded his decision to walk away from Herbalife, which badly dented Pershing's long-term performance.