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Herbalife to clarify reporting of business metrics

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 20, 2013 at 2:24 pm •  Published: February 20, 2013

"We want to simplify matters by breaking out that group and identifying them separately so that it's clear that this is a group that are not distributing products but rather are engaged as a wholesale customer," Walsh told analysts.

Those reporting changes will go into effect in April. The company said it has already begun providing a simplified disclosure statement to salespeople that explains the company's business model.

"We realized there's a need for simplifying how we talk about our business in order to help investors and the public recognize our value proposition," Johnson said.

Herbalife executives took questions a day after saying profit and revenue rose in the fourth quarter and raising its outlook for this year. Still, the company predicts slower sales growth in 2013.

It's a key year for Herbalife, which has been whipsawed since January by the opinions of two long-sparring hedge fund moguls. Icahn heralds Herbalife as a great deal and last week disclosed a 13 percent stake in the company. Ackman calls it a fraud and is shorting the stock, meaning he's betting it will go down.

Herbalife CEO Michael Johnson said the company has had "short discussions" with Icahn but declined to provide specifics. The billionaire investor has suggested he might push Herbalife to go private, which would be disastrous for short-sellers like Ackman.

Last month, the wrangling between Ackman and Icahn boiled over into a shouting match on live television — a rare instance of public upheaval by billionaire financiers.

Shares of Herbalife Ltd. fell $1.94, or 4.9 percent, to $36.80 in afternoon trading.