Herbalife’s a $300 stock: Robert Chapman
Shares of Herbalife could more than triple in price from its current levels, Robert Chapman of Chapman Capital says.
"Today, I think the stock should be trading at $75," he said. "And I get that on a simple 15 multiple on $5 of 2013 earnings, and you can look at similar cash-flow numbers and come up with the same number. But that's not really a big-picture story."
Herbalife stock closed Wednesday up 9 percent at $65.50.
On CNBC's "Fast Money," Chapman said he saw huge potential upside in the stock.
"The big-picture story here is the stock going to $300," he said. "And that's where I think the stock is going if it stays public."
Chapman said he was looking at the similarities between Phillip Morris 13 years ago and Herbalife now.
(Read more: Soros takes large Herbalife stake, shares spike)
Among them were: Low enterprise value to EBITDA, regulatory risk, massive free cash flow, aggressive stock buybacks and an international spinoff solution to U.S. regulation.
"But the difference with all those similarities is that Phillip Morris makes products that kills people, millions a year," he said. "Herbalife makes a shake that saves lives."
Chapman said that a leveraged buyout was one of two likely outcomes for the company, whose stock he counted among his largest holdings.
"If it stays public, Herbalife becomes a public-company LBO. They very steadily buy back stock with spurts of shock-and-awe-type bazooka repurchases," he said. "A $1½ to $2 billion repurchase is very affordable, given the cash flow of the company."
"If that doesn't happen, it will be because somebody LBO'd it first," he said. "Don't forget that LBOs are in Herbalife's DNA."
Chapman alluded to a series of LBO attempts over the past several years.
"At some point, Herbalife will get LBO'd again," he added. "But it may very well be in five to 10 years at $300 a share instead of being at $90 or $100 in 2014."
After Chapman made his bull case on Herbalife, he was asked how much was business and how much was personally against activist investor Bill Ackman and his $1 billion short against the stock.
"I'm going to take a page out of Carl Icahn's book here, so I owe him for a little plagiarism here," he said. "Making money in a stock is a lot of fun. Making money when Bill Ackman's losing money is like a ride in the circus. It really is the cherry on top of the sundae."
Chapman added that anti-Ackman sentiment wasn't the driver.
"I think people that put capital at risk in their portfolios are doing so for capital gains, and they want risk-adjusted gains," he said. "But when someone as sanctimonious as Bill Ackman tries to put Herbalife out of business, and I can make money – double, triple, 10 times my money over a long period of time – while he's not covering a single share, that's kind of like Christmas every month."
Chapman said that it was likely that Ackman hasn't covered his short, as he announced on Tuesday.
(Read more: Ackman to CNBC: I haven't covered Herbalife short)
"I'm not so sure he hasn't sold deep-in-the-money options to hedge it out, only because that would've been the prudent thing to do when the stock was in the $20s and $30s," he said. "And I do believe he has some prudence left in his DNA that he would do that."
Chapman also cited "huge reputational and business risk to him covering a stock," as well as Ackman's announcement of his Herbalife short as his "singular best idea ever."
"If this is your best idea ever and you don't cover the stock at $25, $30, $35, $40, $45, $50, $55, $60, etc., and you covered at $70, $80, $90, $100, what does that say about your business?"