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Ackman and Icahn duke it out over Herbalife

January 25, 2013: 3:30 PM ET

Hedge fund titans Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn squared off over Herbalife (HLF) Friday afternoon. And it was like a scene from a kindergarten playground.

For 30 minutes, the two lobbed insults at each other on CNBC as Ackman's bet on Herbalife's stock falling to zero drew the ire (and a litany of insults) from Icahn.

After listening to the confrontation, the public now knows a few things about these two.

For one, Carl Icahn likes to curse (though the network managed to bleep him out), and he thinks Ackman is a "liar," a "major loser," and a "crybaby in a schoolyard." In case you didn't know it, Icahn made it crystal clear that the two are "not friends."

What we still don't know: Has Icahn actually purchased shares of Herbalife as press reports have said? He wouldn't say.

Ackman had his share of insults for Icahn, calling him a "bully" who "takes advantage of people" and "not an honest guy." But he kept it a clean fight (translation: no cursing).

The Icahn-Ackman battle has quickly overshadowed the other duel involving Ackman and Third Point's Dan Loeb. Just two weeks ago, Loeb revealed a new 8% stake in Herbalife and praised the company's management.

Icahn did say that someone could make a tender offer for Herbalife, which would be the "mother of all short squeezes" for Ackman and his $1 billion bet against the company. Ackman taunted Icahn to go ahead and do it.

The battle lit up the Twittersphere:

Ackman and Icahn didn't try to sing or rap on CNBC.

By the end of the trading day Friday, Herbalife was the winner of the duel. Its stock closed up nearly 1%. After falling more than 35% when Ackman called it a pyramid scheme, Herbalife's stock is now back above pre-Ackman levels.

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Maureen Farrell
Maureen Farrell
Staff writer, CNNMoney

Maureen Farrell is a staff writer at CNNMoney and covers Wall Street, banking, mergers and the stock and bond markets. Prior to joining CNNMoney, she covered venture capital and entrepreneurs for Forbes, and mergers and bankruptcy for Mergermarket and Debtwire, both divisions of the Financial Times.

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