Herbalife, Ackman cleared by government probes: Report

Bill Ackman at Delivering Alpha 2015 in New York on July 15, 2015.
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Bill Ackman at Delivering Alpha 2015 in New York on July 15, 2015.

Shares of Herbalife started the week up more than 2 percent after it was recently reported by The Wall Street Journal that government investigations cleared the company of allegations of having a fraudulent business model.

Probes by the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office failed to find sufficient evidence of criminal wrongdoing within Herbalife, a multilevel marketing company that focuses on nutritional supplements, sources told the newspaper, which first reported it late Friday.

The investigations similarly cleared activist investor Bill Ackman, who has a $1 billion short position against Herbalife, the Journal said. The inquiry focused on allegations that Ackman's closed-end fund, Pershing Square Holdings, might have manipulated Herbalife's stock price.

Herbalife did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment on the report. A Pershing Square spokesman declined to comment.

It's the latest chapter in a long string of conflicts dating back to 2012 between the two companies, with Ackman telling CNBC last year that he expects Herbalife's business to deteriorate, whether or not the government steps in and shuts down the company.

Herbalife has fired back at Ackman's claims.

"Bill Ackman has been engaged in a nearly three-year effort to drive down Herbalife's stock in order to enrich himself and his investors," Herbalife told CNBC in 2015.

The Ackman-Herbalife battle is still the focus of several civil investigations, including by the Federal Trade Commission and SEC, according to the Journal.

For the full story, see The Wall Street Journal report.

— CNBC staff and Reuters contributed to this report.