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Bill Ackman's Herbalife Short Is Subprime Bet 2.0: Street Whispers

Tickers in this article: HLF MBI

For Ackman's reported billion-dollar short to pay off in the near-term, the question is whether his claims alone can cause a withdrawal of distributor money, which would topple the alleged pyramid scheme.

Such a scenario would be remarkably similar to the U.S. housing market collapse, which helped Ackman collect on his MBIA short.

For more on Ackman's Herbalife short, see why analysts are getting personal .

Also see why MBIA executives are taking money in a case they have to run and why the bond insurers bulls differ on its survival .

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York