Seemingly masterminded with the aid of Wile E. Coyote, billionaire crony capitalist hedge fund manager Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P. has catastrophically failed to destroy Herbalife Ltd (NYSE: HLF). His five (5) year effort to destroy Herbalife with a Billion Dollar gamble to short sell Herbalife stock and destroy the company and its owners, investors and citizen distributors has ended in a personal debacle causing massive layoffs and redirected strategies for Pershing Square.
Ackman’s plan or scheme was simple: to blatantly destroy Herbalife’s stock value, and cash in on the plunder of Herbalife’s dead body. Ackman attempted to profit on the backs of the American investing and working public that rightfully sees multi-level marketing opportunities as a traditional and legitimate beacon of hope that his silk stocking ilk cannot comprehend. He set out over five (5) years ago to purposely eradicate Herbalife, along with the financial investment, profit expectations, business opportunities, property values and hopes and dreams of millions of lower and middle-class innocent American citizens who owned and worked for Herbalife.
Pershing Square and Ackman are losers, despite their scorched earth efforts to obliterate Herbalife that included financing a D-Grade self-promoting propaganda feature documentary defaming and demonizing Herbalife; public threats of prosecution of Herbalife through criminal process and potentially crippling administrative action arising from a Democrat U.S. Senator in Ackman’s pocket; and, SEC, FTC, and State Attorneys’ Generals investigations. Pershing Square and Ackman spent $50,000,000.00 to put in the fix and failed. Anticipating profits from his command center,
Manipulation of the stock market by billionaires for profit and sport through shorting a stock and then enlisting Congress, government regulators and the media to win the bet is cheating. Make no mistake, corporate death, ruin, and destruction are generally the intended outcome in Ackman’s game.
The process of shorting stocks is a game for only the wealthiest of the wealthy. The process of shorting stocks has been left essentially unregulated because the prevailing popular wisdom amongst regulators is that the use of short selling is a self-regulatory mechanism whereby stock fraud is rooted out by private investors who profit by pocketing the difference in value of the shorted stock upon its decline in price due to the exposure of the fraudulent company. Regulators love this idea, and permit investors engaged in shorting a stock free reign without oversight. This blind-eye neglect by regulators is just another manifestation of crony capitalism whereby the government disregards the public weal and helps the wealthy elite secure private profits.
There is no transparency in these lawless Crony Capitalist corporate raider war rooms, the market benefit theory only works as a concept. Greed is the driving wheel of the Short Sell Machine of forced ruin. Hence, many companies find themselves to be victims of false charges by predatory short sellers. The investing public, the general public and the American economy are all victims of this shadowy practice through unnatural investment losses, job losses, reduced taxes paid and co-opting of governmental resources by a handful of bloated crony capitalists whose sole purpose is to feast on the corpses of the otherwise economically viable companies they kill off.
Astoundingly, short sellers are not required to disclose their shorted positions. Investment firms, such as Pershing Square, while required to disclose their long positions in equities, stock options, or notes/convertibles are not required to disclose their cash or short positions. Short positions remain cloaked in darkness and secrecy. Query whether it is a good idea for regulators to aid the wealthy and powerful to operate in secret on matters that enrich them if the public interest is harmed.
Therefore, Congress must draw back the curtains and mandate short-seller disclosure requirements that are not less than those currently required of “normal” long-term investors who seek and hope for the investment rewards reaped of profits as opposed to those who labor for losses and financial ruination. These disclosure requirements would entail public filings in which investors who hold more than 5% of a stock must disclose their ownership stake, even if those investors are short sellers seeking to destroy. Additionally, disclosure of short sell activities of company insiders should be required regardless of ownership interest.
The seminal American jurist Mr. Justice Louis Brandeis famously said: “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants”. Transparency brings light and permits oversight, which fosters fairness and preserves liberty. Ackman and his grave-robbing kind despise the cold light of day that follows transparency. Therefore, Congress must act to pass legislation that introduces transparency into the short sell process. It is time to let the sunshine in and render the Ackmans of the market powerless to pull the levers of power in secret and darkness.