Herbalife International is an American multi-level marketing company that develops, markets and sells nutrition, weight management and skin-care products globally. The company was founded in 1980, and it employs around 7,400 people worldwide. Herbalife reported net sales of US$4.072 billion in 2012, an 18% increase over 2011, and net income of $477.19 million, a 16% increase over 2011. It incorporated in the Cayman Islands, and its corporate headquarters is in Los Angeles, California, United States.The company distributes its products in 91 countries (as of November 2013) through a network of approximately 3.2 million independent distributors, some of whom earn profit on product sales and additional commission from a multi-level marketing (MLM) compensation structure.The company has been criticized by, among others, hedge fund manager Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital, who claimed that Herbalife operates a "sophisticated pyramid scheme" after taking a $1-billion short position in Herbalife stock. The company denies the allegations. As of March 2014, Herbalife has been under investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.HistoryIn February 1980, Mark Hughes began selling the original Herbalife weight management product from the trunk of his car. Hughes often stated that the genesis of his product and program stemmed from the weight loss concerns of his mother Joanne, whose premature death he attributed to an eating disorder and an unhealthy approach to weight loss (though, according to an article from Los Angeles Times, this depiction of the story is not accurate ). His stated goal was to change the nutritional habits of the world.
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