Prominent Expert Economist and Former FTC Advisor Provides Analysis of the Herbalife Business Model
Estimates That 97% of Herbalife's Products Are Purchased for
Determines That Herbalife's
Operations Are Consistent with Legitimate Multi-Level Marketing - i.e.,
Not a Pyramid
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) today released the findings from research and
analysis conducted by Walter H. A. Vandaele, Ph.D. of Navigant
Economics, LLC regarding Herbalife's U.S. business operations. Dr.
Vandaele, engaged by the Company to conduct this economic analysis,
assessed whether Herbalife's operations appropriately are classified as
a beneficial, legitimate Multi-Level Marketing ("MLM") firm.
Dr. Vandaele is an economic expert with significant experience in, among
other areas, the regulation and operations of firms in the consumer
goods industry. Among his many professional accomplishments, he has
previously served as Economic Advisor to the Director, Bureau of
Competition and as Assistant Director for Regulatory Evaluation, Bureau
of Consumer Protection at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission ("FTC").
Among his numerous determinations, Dr. Vandaele concluded that,
"Herbalife's U.S. business operations are consistent with the socially
beneficial MLM model and inconsistent with the socially harmful pyramid
Dr. Vandaele conducted extensive research and analysis to compile his
report, which supports Herbalife's U.S. business practices and validates
the Company's classification as an MLM. Key findings of his research
1. An estimated 97% of Herbalife's U.S. product volumes are purchased
from Herbalife for end-use consumption. The vast majority of Herbalife's
product volume (80%) is consumed by individuals outside the Member
network (39%), or consumed by Members who join the Herbalife network
primarily to receive product discounts for their own use or that of
their family (41%).
Applying an economic test that would require Member performance payment
incentives to be primarily funded out of retail-based product sales to
be classified as a legitimate MLM, Herbalife's U.S. business operations
constitute an MLM and not a pyramid scheme. Based on this test, at least
62 percent of total Herbalife product purchases would need to be
retail-based to represent the primary funding source of Member
performance payment incentives (or at least 46 percent based on an
alternative definition of Member compensation that includes Members'
wholesale purchase discounts).
As already mentioned, an estimated 97% of Herbalife's product volume
is purchased by Members for direct and indirect retail end-use
consumption. This percentage significantly exceeds the 62% (and the
alternative 46%) retail threshold required by this economic test for
classifying Herbalife as a beneficial, legitimate MLM.
Even if personal consumption by Members who joined primarily to
participate in the resale business opportunity were excluded, an
estimated 80% of product purchases still would be considered retail
end-use consumption, which also exceeds the 62% (and the alternative
46%) threshold for classifying Herbalife as a legitimate MLM.
2. Herbalife products have significant intrinsic value and market demand.
3. The investment required for Members to join Herbalife is not large
and is mostly recoverable. Member starter pack purchases, unsellable
inventory, and discretionary training material purchases can all be
returned to Herbalife through a 100% money-back return policy.
4. For those who choose to participate, the Herbalife business
opportunity offers a reasonable prospect of operating a financially
Members have a reasonable prospect of being able to profit from
reselling Herbalife products.
The low participation costs allow lower level Members to resell
Many Members who choose to pursue the resale business opportunity do
in fact earn performance payment incentives.
An estimated 32% of those individuals eligible for performance
payments with one or more Members in their downline earned at least
$1,000, 7% earned at least $10,000, and 2% earned at least $50,000.
Members can earn significant performance payments in reasonable
periods of time. Of the three highest level Members, 64% were only in
this position 10 years or less and 26% were Members for 5 years or
Dr. Vandaele's findings are based on review and analyses of a variety of
information and data sources, which was performed beginning in the
summer of 2013. This information includes results obtained from
Herbalife-sponsored surveys of its U.S. customers and Members that were
undertaken by the market research firms Lieberman Research Worldwide
("Lieberman") and The Nielsen Company, B.V. ("Nielsen"). For the
Lieberman survey of Herbalife Members conducted in June 2013, Dr.
Vandaele participated in the design of the survey sample, the
development of the survey instrument and the analysis of the survey
In addition to survey results, Dr. Vandaele also obtained from Herbalife
an extract of profile and financial data for all individuals enrolled as
U.S. Herbalife Members at any time during calendar year 2012. These data
include for each Member, information such as start and termination
dates, level achieved in the marketing plan, number of recruited
downline Members, volume of product purchases, and performance payment
incentives received from Herbalife for product purchases by their
downline. The data did not include any Member's name, address, or other
similar identifying information.
Walter H. A. Vandaele, Ph.D.
Walter H. A. Vandaele is a Managing Director in the Washington, D.C.
office of Navigant Economics, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Navigant
Consulting, Inc. Navigant Economics is a consulting firm providing
expertise primarily in economics, finance, public policy, and business
strategy. Dr. Vandaele is an economist knowledgeable in the fields of
microeconomics, industrial organization, econometrics, and statistics.
His educational background includes a Licentiaat (MBA) in July 1966 from
the University Faculties Saint Ignatius (University of Antwerp), in
Antwerp, Belgium, and a Doctorandus in Economics, cum laude, in 1969
from the Tilburg University, the Netherlands. He also received a Master
of Business Administration in 1973 and a Ph.D. in 1975, both from the
University of Chicago. Dr. Vandaele has held several academic positions
in the economics and business departments at the University of Chicago,
Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He
has published two books in the field of statistics and econometrics and
has over a dozen published articles on economic subjects.
From December 1981 through January 1986, Dr. Vandaele served with the
U.S. Federal Trade Commission as Economic Advisor to the Director,
Bureau of Competition, and as Assistant Director for Regulatory
Evaluation, Bureau of Consumer Protection. Since 1986 he has worked as a
consultant on economic, financial, statistical, and general business
issues arising in commercial disputes. This work primarily has involved
analyzing competitive issues and estimating corporate damages associated
with various types of legal and regulatory matters. He frequently has
been designated as an expert witness and has provided expert testimony
and/or expert reports that have been accepted in dozens of Federal,
State, and International trials and arbitrations.
About Herbalife Ltd.
Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) is a global nutrition company that sells
weight-management, nutrition and personal care products intended to
support a healthy lifestyle. Herbalife products are sold in more than 90
countries to and through a network of independent Members. The company
supports the Herbalife Family Foundation and its Casa Herbalife program
to help bring good nutrition to children. Herbalife's website contains a
significant amount of financial and other information about the company
The company encourages investors to visit its website from time to time,
as information is updated and new information is posted.
Julian Cacchioli, 213-309-9478
Amy Greene, 213-745-0474
Investor, Corporate and Government Relations
Source: Herbalife Ltd.
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