In the old days, Wall Street's top hedge fund managers used to operate secretly and silently behind the scenes.
These days, one popular hedge-fund strategy is to take a position and then publicly announce it--while also often explaining your investment thesis in detail. The goal in doing so is presumably to persuade others to make similar bets, thus driving the stock in the desired direction.
Of course, one drawback in revealing your position is that you invite others to take the opposite side of the trade.
And in one very public case--opposing bets on a stock called Herbalife--that's exactly what's happening.
A couple of months ago, a hedge-fund manager named Bill Ackman shorted Herbalife, saying the multi-level marketing company is just a Ponzi scheme. After taking his position, Ackman gave a 300-page presentation at an investment conference explaining his analysis.
Not surprisingly, Herbalife immediately denied the charge.
More surprisingly, two other hedge fund managers, Carl Icahn and Dan Loeb quickly bet against Ackman, saying his analysis was wrong.
Icahn went on CNBC and blasted Ackman. Loeb, meanwhile, published a letter saying that Ackman's conclusion was "preposterous."
And the game was on...
The Wall Street author and Bloomberg contributor William Cohan has published a big story in Vanity Fair called "The Big Short War" that tells the story of this feud.
Cohan joined us last week to talk about it.
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