Ackman hits Soros with complaint in hedgie food fight

Michael Bow
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BILLIONAIRE financier Bill Ackman has stepped up his battle against US food giant Herbalife by asking regulators to probe a stake taken in the company by rival investor George Soros.

Ackman has reportedly written to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the US watchdog, accusing Soros’ fund of breaking trading rules over its recent investment in the nutrition company.

The complaint alleges Soros’ move into Herbalife was flagged to rival hedge funds in a bid to drive up the share price. The SEC neither confirmed nor denied the complaint last night. Soros and Ackman both declined to comment.

Soros, famously dubbed the man who broke the Bank of England for his successful multi-million pound bet against sterling, last week took a sizeable long position in Herbalife through his fund management firm.

Ackman, who runs Pershing Square Capital, has put down a $1bn bet against Herbalife in expectation the price will fall.

He has repeatedly called the multi-level marketing firm a pyramid scheme, a charge Herbalife has denied.

The complaint is the latest chapter in a soap opera drawing in top hedge fund managers. Ackman has previously taken on hedge fund titans Dan Loeb and Carl Icahn in a war of words over their long positions in Herbalife, which closed up four per cent last night.