Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman told CNBC on Friday he was approached indirectly by Carl Icahn to purchase the billionaire's stake in Herbalife — Ackman's longtime short target.
Asked why Icahn would want to sell his stake in Herbalife, Ackman responded: "I think he knows this is toast" and "he's made bunch of money."
Herbalife shares slumped about 4.5 percent Friday after Ackman made his comments.
Icahn said: "I am not commenting on rumors and stories about what I am doing."
The Pershing Square Capital Management founder confirmed the gist of a Wall Street Journalreport that Icahn was considering selling his stake in Herbalife to a group including the nutritional supplement firm's arch-nemesis Ackman.
Icahn "came to me" through investment bank Jefferies Group with a proposal in early August to "cover my short" position, Ackman said on "Squawk Box."
Saying no to Icahn at first, Ackman said he later reconsidered for only for a few million shares. Icahn owns 17 million-plus shares valued at around $1 billion.
Ackman said if he were to buy a small stake and sell it right away, he would probably lose about $30 million. "I would spend $30 million to get Carl out. I would probably spend more."
The Pershing Square chief is still betting against Herbalife — short more than $1 billion on the stock. He's been critical of Herbalife for years, calling it a pyramid scheme — allegations the company denies.