Ackman: After HLF, I'm done with 'public shorts'

Herbalife... we're doing God's work: Bill Ackman
Herbalife... we're doing God's work: Bill Ackman   

Wall Street may not have Bill Ackman to kick around anymore.

At least, more specifically, the Street likely won't be able to roast the high-profile activist investor for his highly publicized bets against companies.

Following a three-year period in which Ackman has had to defend his aggressive short against Herbalife—a battle that has featured not only high-pitched fights against the firm itself but also an epic slugfest against fellow activist Carl Icahn live on CNBC—he said this part of his career is probably over.

The head of $18.3 billion Pershing Square Capital Management, appearing Wednesday morning on CNBC, responded with an ominous declaration to a question about whether he has a new short in his portfolio .

"You'll never hear about it," Ackman said in response to the questions about a mystery move. "I may be done with public shorts. This may be—Herbalife—one of the last."

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If so, it would put a plug on some prolific market fodder.

Ackman's Herbalife short has featured a wild campaign by both sides regarding his accusations that the supplement provider was merely a pyramid scheme that focused less on a delivering a product and more on recruiting a sales force set in tiers in which those at the top benefit from the work of those on the bottom.

After going badly awry at first, the Herbalife short began paying off in 2014, a year that saw shares of the company tumble more than 50 percent from their early-January highs.

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