[Editors’ note: Parts of the following are from an article by Bruno J. Navarro that originally appeared on CNBC.com]:
Billionaire activist investors Carl Icahn and Bill Ackman traded criticism Friday on CNBC stemming from the latter's short position in Herbalife and veering into a larger battle.
First, Ackman calls in to explain his position on Herbalife:
"Our goal here was to shine a line on Herbalife," Ackman said on "Fast Money," referring to the company which he called "a well-managed pyramid scheme."
Ackman added that the nutritional-supplement company in which he announced a massive short position "deserves the highest level of scrutiny.
"Our goal here was to shed the light on the company," he said. "Frankly, Carl did me a favor by picking on me."
Next, Icahn calls in and everything pretty much goes off the rails after that [at about the 08:80 minute marker]:
"Ackman is a liar," he said. "He's got one of the worst reputations on Wall Street."
Icahn also accused Ackman of destroying companies by publicly shorting their stocks.
"I'm telling you he's like a crybaby in the schoolyard," he said. " I went to a tough school in Queens, you know, and they used to beat up the little Jewish boys. He was like one of the little Jewish boys crying."
Icahn, who has criticized Ackman's much-publicized short in Herbalife, issued a written statement.
"To get the record straight, I never asked Ackman to be my friend," Icahn wrote. "Quite to the contrary, Ackman has stated to me on more than one occasion that it's a shame we are not friends because then he could have invested with me. But, even if we were friends, I would never have invested with him because I believe he takes inordinate risks. HLF I believe proves this point.
"As it has been pointed out HLF can turn out to be 'the mother of all short squeezes.' Selling short 20% of the shares of a company such as HLF with limited partners' money that can be withdrawn, in my opinion, leaves much to be questioned."Bill Ackman has recently stated, 'Carl Icahn is a great investor.' I thank him but unfortunately I cannot return the compliment."
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©2013 CNBC LLC., Bruno J. Navarro.