January 31, 2016 / 8:40 PM / 2 years ago

Ackman, Herbalife unscathed by probes: WSJ

William Ackman, founder and CEO of hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management, speaks during the Sohn Investment Conference in New York May 4, 2015.Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - Two government probes into the conduct of longtime antagonists Pershing Square Holdings and Herbalife have failed to find sufficient evidence of criminal wrongdoing by either party, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The probes included an investigation of claims that Herbalife, a nutrition and weight loss company, has a fraudulent business model, and an inquiry into allegations that investment firm Pershing Square manipulated Herbalife's stock, the Journal said.

The queries mark yet another point of tension in the feud between the two parties. Pershing Square's chief executive, William Ackman, has bet $1 billion of his firm's $15 billion in assets under management against Herbalife and has been one of the company's most vocal critics, comparing its business model to a pyramid scheme.

The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the probes with help from the feuding parties, each of which hoped that investigations into the other would bear fruit, the newspaper said.

The Journal added that the investigations could be rekindled if additional evidence was brought to bear, citing people familiar with the matter.

Reporting by Carl O'Donnell; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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