Pyramid scheme allegations are nothing new. Each time, Herbalife vehemently denies it is a pyramid scheme, and says it’s a legitimate company, with legitimate products, and a legitimate business opportunity. It is this “business opportunity” that merits the pyramid scheme allegations.
Sam Antar, former CFO of Crazy Eddie (massive fraud in the 1980’s) has been systematically uncovering fraud at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ: GMCR) for years. In spite of this, investors continue to run up the price of the stock, believing the hype and the numbers put out by management.
Questions posed to Herbalife earlier this year by David Einhorn sent the stock price down quickly. Einhorn simply wanted to know about customers… actual consumers of the Herbalife products.
One has to assume Einhorn has done lots of research on multi-level marketing. And he knows the real deal. Herbalife’s customers are the distributors. Corporate doesn’t care much if the products get to a real customer after that. They’ve already made their sale and collected their money.
Multi-level marketing has very little to do with selling the product, and relies almost exclusively on continual recruitment of new distributors. But the product is important to make the MLMs not look like pure pyramid schemes.Continue reading
It’s not clear Einhorn has already placed his bets against Herbalife, but it seems likely he would do so before tipping his hand, even slightly. Einhorn only asked three questions on the conference call, so it’s not clear why he thinks the company’s shares will fall. But Tracy Coenen, a forensic accountant, who has been following Herbalife for a few years, says that from Einhorn’s questions it appears he is concerned about Herbalife’s growth. Continue reading
Yesterday the stock of Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) dropped 20 percent when David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital began asking questions during the company’s earnings call. Herbalife is a multi-level marketing company which sells vitamins. The company describes itself:
We pursue our mission of “changing people’s lives” by providing a financially rewarding business opportunity to distributors and quality products to distributors and customers who seek a healthy lifestyle. We are one of the largest network marketing companies in the world with net sales of approximately $3.5 billion for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011. As of December 31, 2011, we sold our products in 79 countries through a network of approximately 2.7 million independent distributors.Continue reading