Anyone who doubted Carl Icahn’s penchant for vendettas severely underestimated him: the data shows that Icahn accumulated the vast majority of his position AFTER the CNBC showdown with Ackman. He did it through options combos: Icahn bought calls and sold puts. From the filing, he owns a total economic interest in 14,015,151 shares, which is about 13% of Herbalife’s outstanding shares. But Icahn doesn’t own all stock – he owns:
-combos (equivalent to a long stock position: long calls, short puts, Jan 28th 2015 expiration) on 8,311,738 shares
-combos (equivalent to a long stock position: long calls, short puts, May 10th 2013 expiration) on 3,230,606 shares
which leaves 2,472,807 shares of HLF common stock.
If you read the 13D, you can see the dates of the transactions, and the complicated mess of entities Icahn controls.* According to my wicked quick spreadsheet math, his cost basis on the common is $34.69, and he bought 1,672,807 of the shares in the days before Christmas, 2012, with the remaining 800k shares being bought on Jan 28th/29th 2013, AFTER the CNBC showdown with Ackman. All of the options trades were done after the Ackman CNBC battle – from Jan 28th through Feb 14th (today).