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Liveblogging the Herbalife investor webcast

Hedge fund manager Bill Ackerman says Herbalife is a pyramid scheme and has bet $1 billion on its fall. Hedge fund manager Dan Loeb begs to differ and has bet $350 million that the stock will rise in value.

Herbalife is under a lot of pressure at the moment. The L.A.-headquartered nutritional supplements maker has been accused of being a pyramid scheme by hedge fund manager Bill Ackman. 

He's betting more than $1 billion that the company won't be around for much longer. Other hedge fund guys, like Dan Loeb, are taking the other side of that bet, countering Ackman's short position by buying up Herbalife stock and betting on its continued success.

Herbalife is doing a webcast for investors and analysts in New York this morning. This is the first time the company will be explicitly responding to Ackman's pyramid scheme charge, which he laid out late last year. I'm liveblogging the webcast so check back for updates. (All times are West Coast, by the way, as I'm in Los Angeles).

6:02

CEO Michael Johnson is up. He's proud. Talking products and public health. Confident about the future. Call's news of recent weeks "misinformation." He says it's created "confusion and doubt" and is here is present the facts and mentions Pershing Square, Ackman's hedge fund, for the first time. And he says half a dozen Herbalife executives are going to speak today. So this could go for a while. One photo is worth "at least 100 PowerPoint slides" he says — a joke about Ackman's 343 slide takedown of the company.

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Why are Dan Loeb and Bill Ackman fighting over the future of Herbalife?

Hedge fund manager Bill Ackerman says Herbalife is a pyramid scheme and has bet $1 billion on its fall. Hedge fund manager Dan Loeb begs to differ and has bet $350 million that the stock will rise in value.

Herbalife has a headquarters in downtown Los Angeles, is incorporated in the Cayman Islands, is run by CEO Michel Johnson, a former Disney executive, and has been in business for more than 30 years. It did $3.5 billion — yes, that's billion — in net sales in 2011, has 6,000 staff employees and three million — that's million — independent distributors worldwide.

And since late last year, it's been under assault by Bill Ackman, who runs Pershing Square Capital Management, a New York hedge fund. Just before Christmas 2012, Ackman conducted a three-hour presentation is which he worked through 343 PowerPoint slides (see it here and add to Business Insider's over three million page views for the post) and laid out the case that Herbalife is a pyramid scheme. Ackman has set a target price for the company's price of zero. 

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