Did anyone really expect the company or Icahn to tell everyone their real plans on the conference call.....
The company bought approximately 4 million shares at around $40/shr. average since Jan. 1st. This is a very aggressive buy back by any measure. It is obvious that they are trying to take some shares out of the market to work along with Icahn to help contribute to a short squeeze of some sort/other purpose (going private). I can't imagine Johnson (CEO) is going to give up his 'gravy train' so easily by allowing Ackman to run the company into the ground. The time frame of March 6th for the complete delivery of Icahn's remaining 11+ million shares from his option position (for a total of roughly 14 million shares) will allow HLFmore time to buy another 4+ million shares or so, and whatever else Icahn can get off the market will help to support a much higher price. It would be nice that Loeb or Chapman jumped back in and bought with both hands but that remains to be seen.
Regardless, I heard what I thought I would on the C.C. yesterday. In his eyes, Icahn has been wronged (by Ackman). He will not let him go without the max pain to his account. A bitter old man indeed. The question is, how high can he push the share price to cause max pain/erase any profits an dincur a loss for his 'bestest of friends' Ackman.
Don't hold your breath waiting for Icahn to make a press release. If he is positioning to purchase the company the last thing he wants is for the price to go up. He is probably looking to take this private for between $6bill and $8bill. The cash flow is what he is after. The stock price is meaningless to him, although he does seem to want to punish Ackman with a short squeeeeeeeeze. If Icahn speaks now, I will be out. I am hoping for a big move sometime in March.