It would be tragic if it wasn't so hilarious. Nearly a year after we first suggested that Herbalife is the long of 2013, as a result of the epic short squeeze potential resulting from the Ackman announcement of his mega short,(promptly followed by the traditional Whitney Tilson piggyback) which it has been, rising from $25 to an all time high of $77.39 days ago, Herbalife has had enough of the so-called retail expert's (coughJCPcough) repeated allegations of fraud, and after taking a well-deserved victory lap costing Ackman hundreds of millions, has decided to hit him where it truly hurts - his clients. Bloomberg reports that Herbalife is approaching investors in Ackman’s hedge fund, suggesting they pull their money from the $12 billion firm.
With Ackman, Druckenmiller, Robertson, PTJ And Dimon On Deck, Here Are The Best "Robin Hood" Day 1 Hedge Fund IdeasSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/22/2013 07:57 -0500
Someone must have had an odd sense of humor to name a conference in which the most prominent US hedge funds appear, after Robin Hood - it seems in the New Normal the prince of thieves takes from the Middle Class and gives... to himself. Snyde remarks aside, yesterday was Day 1 of the Robin Hood investor conference, with such speakers as David Einhorn and Dan Loeb putting on their best book-talking face and pitching their currently marketable ideas (which they have put on long ago and are likely selling into strength). Below is a summary of the top recommendations from Bloomberg.
It just keeps getting worse and worse for Bill Ackman. A few weeks after the epic humiliation, not to mention even more epic losses, he suffered on his now defunct JCP long position (despite ample warnings by the likes of Zero Hedge who said long ago JCP is merely a melting icecube and fast-track Chapter 11/7 candidate) all those who predicted (such as Zero Hedge back in January) that an epic HLF short squeeze would result in the aftermath of Ackman's Herbalife short announcement leading to Ackman's ultimate capitulation, have been proven correct. Moments ago, in a letter to investors, Bill Ackman just announced that he has covered over 40% of his Herbalife short position, with his forced buy-in explaining the endless move higher in Herbalife stock in recent weeks. The explanation of being forced out of nearly half of his position is amusing: "we minimize the risk of so-called short squeezes or other technical attempts by market manipulators to force us to cover our position." So Ackman is forced out by his Prime Brokers so as not to be forced out by market manipulators? That's an interesting explanation for what is a far simple situation: booking your paper losses.
There is Whitney Tilson, there is Dennis Gartman, there is Bill Ackman, but when it comes to epic, blatant muppet genocide nobody, nobody in the history of Wall Street, can compare to Goldman's chief FX strategist Thomas Stolper. Nobody. "Trade Update: Closing long EUR/GBP after strong UK data offset other Sterling negative factors. We recommend closing long EUR/GBP positions for a potential negative return of 0.2%."
While we have heard this rumor before, the NY Post is reporting that CIT - the largest commercial lender/factor in the US apparel industry - has abruptly stopped supporting deliveries from smaller manufacturers to JCPenney stores. Insiders speculated that CIT got skittish after meeting with JCP officials yesterday and getting a glimpse of financials. It really is not Bill Ackman's day - HLF +10%, JCP -6.7%.
There was a brief period of confusion for a while when Goldman didn't have clear muppet-stomping trades on the book, and those who wished to frontrun the Goldman prop desk (and do the opposite of the muppet flow) were stuck furiously scratching their head. And granted while it's not a "Stolper", tonight we got two gifts (in the parlance of Whitney Tilson) with Goldman first telling its clients to sell gold following Goldman's lowering of its price target for the yellow metal (which as always means the hedge fund known as Goldman is buying what its clients are selling). And then, moments ago, we also learned that Goldman is also selling the 10 Year, which it advise muppets to buy.
From Whitney Tilson: "After a strong 12-year run, 2011 and 2012 were lost years. I feel very badly about this and apologize to you. But I know you don’t want an apology – you want performance! To that end, I’ve reflected on the mistakes I’ve made, learned from them, and taken significant steps to maximize our chances of success going forward: I’m now the sole portfolio manager and have dramatically simplified, focused, and de-risked the fund. I’m confident that my strategy is sound, I will execute it well going forward, and we will all profit."
With the EURUSD trading rangebound in the past few months, everyone needed a catalyst for a forward direction. Today, we got it courtesy of Goldman's Tom Stolper, who just released yet another EURUSD trade recommendation with a 1.37 Target.
As we discussed in Monday’s Global Markets Daily, we continue to expect the compression in Euro area risk premia to push EUR/$ higher. Having just closed our long EUR/CAD recommendation, and in order to maintain exposure to the theme, we recommend long EUR/$ positions with a target of 1.37 and a stop at 1.29.
So let's get this straight: Goldman's 0.000 batter has a trade recommendation that has upside of 400 pips, and downside of... 400 pips? As always: do the opposite of what Tom Stolper, who is almost as "accurate" as Whitney Tilson in his recommendations, says which also happens to be the same direction as what Goldman's prop desk does.
As we warned on December 26, when the stock was trading in the mid 20's the pain for shorts is horrible and getting worse (courtesy of the best and always absolutely certain contrarian signal - the involvement of Whitney Tilson) and is about to send the stock into the stratosphere following a very surprising announcement by none other than Bill Ackman buddy Dan Loeb, who just filed a 13F reporting a 8.24% passive stake in Herbalife sending the stock surging. In other news: this may be Herbadeath for Whitney Tilson, who may well be on track to blow up a second fund in under a year.
A week ago, on December 26, when Whitney Tilson announced he was piggybacking on the Einhorn-Ackman Herbalife trade, we asked if a short squeeze was imminent "as Tilson jumps on the Herbalife bandwagon." The stock was trading in the mid-$20s. This morning it will open just shy of $35, a 30% gain in one week, which more or less answers our rhetorical question. As a reminder, the Herbalife as a "ponzi scheme" thesis has been around since 2009 (check valueinvestorclub.com, not to be confused with the aforementioned Tilson's VIC) and anyone who assumes this is a valuation catalyst is very much wrong. Which is why the recent surge in the stock may just be the beginning: as was reported late last week, Short Interest in the stock has soared ever since HLF came to the forefront of newsflow to a whopping 26.22 million shares, an increase of 5 million shares short in the past week alone, and amounting to 24% short interest of the total % of shares outstanding.
Just hours after Ackman announced his joining Einhorn's alleged Herbalife short, we jokingly tweeted our expectation of bandwagon-following 'value' investors imminent herding...
Ackman joins Einhorn in the HLF short. Next up: Titney Wilson
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) December 19, 2012
And sure enough, with the holidays providing just enough time to read the 300 pages and to form his own "blindingly obvious" conclusion, Whitney Tilson has jumped in short HLF. We can only imagine the cost of borrow and wonder on the post-OPEX timing of a short squeeze given the huge short interest and the fact that HLF has recently hired Boies, Schiller, and Flexner to defend its business model. HLF is trading up 2% in pre-market.
Back in May, Herbalife stock got monkeyhammered when one of the best performing hedge fund managers of the past few years, David Einhorn expressed a bearish thesis in the company. Today, the stock just got the double tap following no new information, but merely the second part of the Einhorn-Ackman-Loeb activist triangle (who most of the time operate as an informal cartel), as it plunged by over 10% when William Ackman, smarting from the hundreds of millions lost in JCPenney just piggybacked on Einhorn's thesis, as reported by CNBC, said he is short Herbalife, calling it a pyramid scheme, and saying he has done fundamental research for a year (it takes a year to read Einhorn's presentation?). Essentially, nothing new here. All we await now is that 13F chaser Whitney Tilson to finally jump on board what is becoming the world's biggest hedge fund short, and get a catalyst, any catalyst that scrambles the shorts into covering, and sends the stock in the triple digit range.
Just when we thought blowing up one fund in one year is enough for Whitney Tilson (recall from July: It's Official: T1 Is Not T2; Tilson Liquidates To Buy More Of The Same), we got a glimpse of his just released 13F and are rather confident the man, the myth, the stuff of Anti-Tilson ETFs will shock and awe us all one more time. The reason? As of September 30, Tilson's inaccurately named T2 Partners - it should be T1 now that Glenn Tongue is long gone - had a total of $175 million in AUM. That's not the punchline: as part of this $175 million, Tilson had $63 million in put/call stock equivalents. In other words the much vaunted "asset manager" who for some absolutely inexplicable reason continues to get CNBC airtime, managed a grand total of $110 million in real (mostly family and friends) money. That's not the punchline either. The punchline is that Tilson's top 3 positions were AIG and AAPL, with AIG in both stock and Call format. In fact, more than 10% of the firm's virtual AUM, or $18.6 million was in stock equivalent calls for AIG and AAPL, stocks which since September 30 have gone in a literally, not virtually, straight line lower, and have as a result likely wiped out the entire intrinsic call value. The only silver lining: Tilson owned $5.5 mm in NFLX calls and a grand total of $3.6 million in NFLX stock. We hope it carries him far, because once the Icahn grand jig is up, in which the raider is exposed as having absolutely no intentions of buying the company, or even putting it in play, but merely squeezing the shorts courtesy of a costless collar and a sternly worded 13D, that will be the final straw for Tilson's second coming, and most likely, his career.