New Releases

When the Wolves Bite: Two Billionaires, One Company, and an Epic Wall Street Battle

April 24, 2018


Scott Wapner's new book is a fast-paced and cautionary tale about the power that, ten years after the financial crisis, still lives in the hands of a precious few.

When the Wolves Bite is the thrilling story of an epic battle between two business titans. Nobody can tell it like Scott Wapner does, because nobody knows activist investors better than he does. If you want to know what makes billionaires go to war, you must read this book!” —Jim Cramer, host of Mad Money

“It’s never about money. It’s always about ego. Th[is] book is a telling examination of the psychology of billionaires trying to one-up each other.” —Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times bestselling author of Too Big to Fail


With their unprecedented amounts of capital and their savvy understanding of business, activist investors Carl Icahn and Bill Ackman have the ability to move markets and change the fortunes of investors, workers, and even large companies with the flick of a wrist. These super-investors are interested not just in owning a piece of a company, but also in using their influence and money to change the way it operates. And no company is beyond their reach—even big players like Apple and PepsiCo have been targeted. But what happens when these activist investors run into the one thing in business they can't control: each other.

On January 25, 2013, Scott Wapner, the host of CNBC's The Halftime Report, found out firsthand. Ackman and Icahn engaged in an uninterrupted, twenty-seven-minute televised war of accusations and insults over a company called Herbalife, on which they had opposing views—and opposing financial bets. The story quickly went viral, trading even stopped as the world watched. The unexpected event was called "the best business television ever" by Jim Cramer. Their very public clash on live television was just the beginning, in fact, their war over Herbalife still rages. The billionaires’ feud became a years-long saga, complete with secret backroom deals, public accusations, and billions of dollars in stock trades.

In When the Wolves Bite: Two Billionaires, One Company, and an Epic Wall Street Battle (Public Affairs, $27.00, on sale today) Wapner breaks the story down with unprecedented access to all the players, unraveling this remarkable war of egos and showing the extreme measures the participants were willing to take. For this book, Wapner conducted on the record exclusive interviews with Carl Icahn, Bill Ackman, and Herbalife’s now former CEO Michael Johnson. He also analyzes how activist investing has a profound impact on the workers of a particular company, the individuals who may find themselves promoted or out of a job entirely at the whim of a billionaire investors they will never meet. When the Wolves Bite is a fast-paced and cautionary tale about the power that, ten years after the financial crisis, still lives in the hands of a precious few.


Scott Wapner is the host of the Halftime Report, which airs every weekday on CNBC. Known industry-wide as an expert in the area of activism and markets, Wapner is in regular contact with all the personalities in this book. Wapner has also reported several documentaries for the network, including Hotel: Behind Closed Doors at Marriott, and One Nation, Overweight, for which he received an award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers as well as a Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists.

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