Activist investor Carl Icahn has sold the majority of his shares in Herbalife Nutrition Ltd. and has relinquished his five board seats at the downtown-based nutritional supplement company.

The repurchase deal included roughly $600 million worth of Herbalife shares at a price of $48.05 per share — the value of Herbalife’s stock on the last day of trading prior to the sale.


Icahn has sold more than $1.3 billion in Herbalife shares over the last six months, although he remains a significant stakeholder in the company for the time being. Through his investment conglomerate, Icahn Enterprises, Icahn holds 8 million Herbalife shares representing approximately 6% of the company’s outstanding stock.


The latest deal is part of a larger share repurchase program kicked off by Herbalife in 2018. More than $1.5 billion worth of stock has been bought back by the company under the program, mostly from Icahn.


“Our decision to repurchase these shares is a testament to the strength of our business and our long-term growth prospects,” Herbalife Chairman and Chief Executive John Agwunobi said in a statement. “I am grateful to Carl for his friendship, advice and support, and deeply appreciate his unwavering faith in our company, our products and our distributors. He was certainly there when we needed him.”


Icahn bought into Herbalife in 2012. He became the company’s largest stockholder the following year. He stuck with Herbalife through numerous challenges, including accusations by fellow activist investor Bill Ackman that the company was a pyramid scheme.


Icahn’s firm has held five board seats at Herbalife for the last seven years — positions that were contingent on retaining at least 14 million shares of the company’s stock. Because Icahn Enterprises no longer meets that threshold, all of Icahn's appointees have resigned.


All told, Icahn is estimated to have earned about $1 billion from his bet on Herbalife.


“I made the initial investment in Herbalife Nutrition more than eight years ago because I believed strongly in the company’s strategy, products and business model,” Icahn said in a statement. “When I began purchasing the shares, I believed it was undervalued for extraneous reasons that I thought made little sense.


“At the time, I believed the company was in need of an activist, and that certainly turned out to be correct,” Icahn added. “Yet, the time for activism has passed as the company has grown, and I don’t typically invest billions of dollars in companies where our role as activist is not needed.”

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