The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has raised an incredible amount of money to help fight Lou Gehrig's Disease. The viral campaign, which has people dumping buckets of ice water on themselves and then nominating people to do the same, has raised $94 million over the last month for the ALS Association, up from the $2.7 million raised during the same period last year. It’s been a great and wildly successful campaign.
But in a strange twist of fate, the Ice Bucket Challenge – along with two big Wall Street names – may have also inadvertently made a controversial stock jump.
The story starts with Jefferies CEO Richard Handler, who was nominated to do the challenge by KCG Holdings CEO Daniel Coleman. Rather than just reciprocating, Handler decided to step it up a notch. He dumped roughly a dozen bags of ice into an enormous Jacuzzi tub, disrobed, plunged in, and then jumped out with a shriek.
No, the somewhat awkward video is not what made a stock jump. It was Handler’s nomination, and a misinterpreted joke that followed that had traders running to their terminal. Handler challenged billionaire investor Carl Icahn – a friend and a big client of Jefferies.
Icahn responded soon after the video emerged, tweeting that he was “too busy working on BIG deal with another investment banker.” Icahn was obviously joking, pretending to be working with a Jefferies’ rival.
Well, several people didn’t get the joke, as Business Insider first reported. Some investors clearly assumed Icahn was serious and that he was talking about Herbalife, the controversial stock that several big hedge fund names have been betting either side of. Icahn has been a buyer.
In the immediate aftermath of the tweet, Herbalife took off, spiking several percentage points in just a handful of minutes.
It seems Wall Street’s elite are all-powerful, even when they don’t mean to be.
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