Icahn and Ackman, foes on Herbalife, make up at conference

Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:35pm EDT
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By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Carl Icahn and William Ackman are friends again.

The billionaire investors, who have been at odds over nutrition and diet company Herbalife, made up in public on Wednesday, ending a decade long feud that exploded on cable television 18 months ago. Icahn, 78, who made his reputation in the 1980s, and Ackman, 48, seen by some as a young version of the older corporate raider, sparred over opposing bets on Herbalife on CNBC in January 2013. Icahn has taken a long position on the stock and Ackman is short.

On Wednesday at the CNBC Institutional Investor Delivering Alpha Conference, the men hugged and then praised each other over their investor activism.

When asked about who would win the Herbalife bet, Ackman said "it is not about winning. I would love to get Carl out of Herbalife."

He added that Icahn could walk away with a handsome profit.

"Carl we should have a conversation," he said to Icahn.

Privately, Ackman said it would be hard to find someone to buy Icahn's shares. Icahn said he has not sold any of the 17 million shares he owns.

The war of words that began when Icahn called Ackman a cry baby in a school yard and Ackman shot back that Icahn was not an honest man captivated Wall Street for roughly half an hour on CNBC and was played repeatedly by the network.   Continued...

Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn gives an interview on FOX Business Network's Neil Cavuto show in New York February 11, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid