NEW YORK – Herbalife, the seller of supplements and weight-loss products currently under federal investigation as a potential pyramid scheme, overstated its worldwide growth in 2015.
The company said active new members worldwide grew 3.4 percent instead of 8.3 percent in 2015. Revised figures for the fourth-quarter cut worldwide growth to 3.2 percent from 16.7 percent.
The Los Angeles-based company cited a database error as the cause, saying “it had limited visibility into the likely rate of change” in the metric plan, which it began using last year.
The company has been under pressure from activist investor Bill Ackman and his Pershing Square Capital Management LP for its business practices. He has claimed that the company is running a pyramid scheme, which involves making money by recruiting more salespeople instead of through selling products. Such models are illegal because they eventually collapse once there are no more people to recruit.
Herbalife has defended its business practices, saying it is confident in the fundamentals of its business model, which it has said operates like a multilevel marketing company similar to Avon, Amway and Mary Kay.
In February, the company disclosed that it is in talks to with the Federal Trade Commission to potentially resolve the investigation surrounding its business practices.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.