One of the most common arguments used against those who deem multi-level marketing companies pyramid schemes, is that pyramid schemes collapse. Because Herbalife hasn’t collapsed, it must not be a pyramid scheme. Because the company has avoided total collapse for more than 30 years, it can’t possibly be a pyramid scheme. That is false, and I will demonstrate the falsity with the help of Bill Ackman.
Recruiting is the Name of the Game
A pyramid scheme has been defined as a scheme in which the participants obtain their monetary benefits primarily from recruitment rather than the sale of goods and services to consumers. Continue reading
This little gem is courtesy of Shortzilla, a Seeking Alpha contributor. In a 1986 Final Judgment and Permanent Injunction against Herbalife in California, the company agreed to the following:
B. defendants shall be in compliance with this Section 5, as long as a verification or documentation system they implement allows them, at any given point in time, to verify or: document to plaintiffs that any and all participants who receive commissions, bonuses, overrides and/or advancement from defendants in defendants marketing program, after entry of this judgment, are based on retail sales made by or through such participant(s) or others introduced directly or indirectly under participant(s). Continue reading
In March, the Federal Trade Commission entered an order against multi-level marketing company BurnLounge, prohibiting the company and its founders from making certain misrepresentation and requiring them to disclose certain things in the future. Over the last few months, the heat has been on Herbalife, after short seller David Einhorn asked some important questions on a conference call. (Don’t let HLF tell you the questions were elementary or not important. They are very important.)
There is no doubt that Herbalife has had much financial success over the years. It is the largest publicly traded MLM, and its stock price has increased greatly since 2007. But are there things to be worried about? If you know something about multilevel marketing, the answer is YES. 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
A falling stock price is good! Allegations of fraud are good! Why? “When these business models are doubted, returns tend to be the greatest.” That’s a quote from an analyst. Fraud in China by Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) apparently equals “doubt about the business model” to him.
Here are his statements as reported by the Associated Press: Continue reading