A Hedge Fund Dogfight, Live, Mesmerizes Wall Street

dbpix-icahn-ackman-articleInlineFor a half-hour on Friday afternoon, the eyes of Wall Street were not on the usual fixations, like the fiscal talks in Washington, or Apple’s earnings or a potential takeover of Dell.

Instead, they were turned to the cable channel CNBC, watching verbal fisticuffs that could rival anything on reality TV, a spat between two hedge fund magnates with a decade-long grudge against each other.

Nominally, the two titans, Carl C. Icahn and William A. Ackman, called into CNBC to discuss their contrasting views on Herbalife, a nutritional supplements company. Instead, they slung invective back and forth in a fight that riveted traders and Twitter alike.

How sophisticated was the debate?

“He’s like a crybaby in the schoolyard,” Mr. Icahn thundered in his thick Queens accent. He later declared that his foe was “the quintessential example that if you want a friend on Wall Street, get a dog.”

“This is not an honest guy who keeps his word,” Mr. Ackman later shot back. “This is a guy who takes advantage of little people.”

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