The activist hedge fund battle involving Bill Ackman and his fight to bring down a 30 year old company, Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), will be coming soon to the big screen.
Academy award winner fascinated by Ackman – Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) battle
Academy Award winning documentary producer Glen Zipper, who won an award for the movie Undefeated, is teaming with Ted Braun, award winning director of movies such Darfur and Now, are combining their talents to untangle the Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) International story.
The battle between Herbalife and activist hedge fund manager Bill Ackman is historic on several levels. Ackman’s publicly exposed lobbying of regulators, which ultimately was followed by both a regulatory and criminal investigation, was considered highly aggressive as was Ackman’s producing a documentary film touting his negative view of what he claims is an Herbalife pyramid scheme. Ackman is short the stock and his public attempts to bring down the company have been well documented, including his predicting the company could end in a flash.
Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) – Among the most public hedge fund battles ever broadcast
Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), for its part, has hedge fund supporters led by Carl Icahn, who somewhat famously fought with Ackman on business TV throughout 2013. On CNBC, for instance, Icahn famously called Ackman a “crybaby on the schoolyard” while Ackman said Icahn was dishonest. As reported in ValueWalk, Ackman later made a rather awkward phone call to Icahn where he called to tell Icahn that he would accept his apology. Icahn apparently apologized after Ackman forgave him, in a relationship twist. “The goal is to explore this story through a number of characters through a number of different levels,” says Braun. “There’s the global level, the way it’s being playing out in board rooms and on Wall Street. But also there’s a grass-roots level. The goal is to look at a complicated social problem through these different levels.”
The battle between Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) and Ackman is said to be a major focus of the movie. “It’s a natural subject for a feature documentary,” Braun said in a report. “A year ago (Zipper) came to me with a range of different projects. Among them was a little reference to the conflict that had broken out with Ackman and Herbalife. That sparked my interest.”
Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) specializes in health related products focusing on weight management, nutrition and skin-care products, has been the talk of the hedge fund world. This March Ackman’s tactics were validated when Herbalife said it was under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. Herbalife sells through a distributor network that is accused of making more money by fleecing new distributors rather than primarily profiting from selling products.
Braun expects a movie release date early in 2015.