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Herbalife plans to fight back in January

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Herbalife Ltd. is ready to fight back against recent claims that have pummeled its stock price and reputation.

The company said Monday that it will hold an analyst day on Jan. 10 to discuss its business model. It also announced that it has retained investment bank Moelis & Co. as a strategic adviser.

Herbalife's stock price sank sharply last week after hedge fund manager William Ackman said that he believes the nutritional supplements company is a pyramid scheme and that he has been shorting the stock for several months. The company has vehemently denied the claims several times.

Herbalife, which signs up independent distributors to sell supplements and weight loss products, says the allegation that it is a pyramid scheme is bogus. The company said Friday that it would host the analyst day to respond to the "distorted, outdated and inaccurate information" laid out by Ackman's firm, Pershing Square Capital Management.

Herbalife said Monday that its senior management will give a comprehensive response to investor questions at the meeting on its business model, some regulatory perspective and an update on the business and its growth prospects. The company, which is incorporated in the Cayman Islands and has its principal operating subsidiary in Los Angeles, sells its products in more than 80 countries.

Pershing Square on Friday made public the information used in presentation that was at the center of the turmoil, launching the web site www.FactsAboutHerbalife.com. It includes the source data used to create its presentation that it titled "Who wants to be a Millionaire?" that he gave to investors earlier in the week.

Herbalife also Monday said that due to trading blackout period restrictions, it has yet to utilize the $950 million remaining on its existing $1 billion share repurchase authorization. It now expects to exceed its previously announced quarterly guidance of $50 million of the repurchase authorization in upcoming quarters.

The company's shares fell more than 4 percent to $26.06 Monday after hitting a new 52-week low of $24.24 earlier in the day.

Herbalife's shares fell roughly 36 percent between Tuesday's close, just before the news broke, and the end of the week.