Shares of Herbalife Ltd. rose more than 9 percent on Monday after the nutritional supplement company said a re-audit of more than three years of its financial results found no material changes to earlier statements.
The Los Angeles company ordered the re-audit by PriceWaterhouseCoopers after it was inadvertently caught up in an insider trading scandal. KPMG resigned as Herbalife's auditor in May after Scott London, then a partner at its Los Angeles office, was accused of leaking insider information about the companies he covered, including Herbalife, to a friend. Prosecutors said his friend, Bryan Shaw, made more than $1.2 million trading on that information. Both men later pleaded guilty in the case with sentences pending.
"As previously publicly stated by KPMG, their resignation was not related to Herbalife's financial statements, its accounting practices, the integrity of Herbalife's management, or any other reason," Herbalife said in the announcement.
Hedge fund trader William Ackman last December accused Herbalife of operating as a Ponzi scheme. Billionaire Carl Icahn, who has traded barbs with Ackman over Herbalife, said in TV interviews today that the results were another indication that Ackman's accusations were baseless.
Ackman's New York firm, Pershing Square, said in an emailed response this afternoon: "It is not the role of Herbalife’s auditor to determine if the company is a pyramid scheme ... Rather, that determination depends on whether distributors earn more from recruiting new distributors than from retail sales to consumers who are not distributors."
Shares on Monday closed up $6.47, or 9.5 percent, to $74.85 on the New York Stock Exchange.
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