Betting on Zero

Synopsis: Writer/director Ted Braun follows controversial hedge fund titan Bill Ackman as he puts a billion dollars on the line in his crusade to expose Herbalife as the largest pyramid scheme in history.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Ted Braun
  1 win & 3 nominations.
99 min


Bill ackman:

this will be the

most important presentation

That I've made in my career.

So, how's that for

raising expectations?


what are we gonna learn?

You're gonna learn

why herbalife is

going to collapse,

And that's

a pretty strong statement,

But this is the largest fraud

in terms of scale,

of countries involved,

Harm to people...

And right now, we are

joined by the ceo of

herbalife, michael johnson.

He has called in.

Michael johnson:

First of all, guys,

This isn't about

herbalife's business model.

This is about bill ackman's

business model.

This is blatant

market manipulation.

We're not a pyramid scheme.

That's a bogus accusation.

This is a legitimate company.

We've been in business

32 years.

Millions of customers

around the world.

Mr. Ackman's proposition

That the United States

will be better

when herbalife is gone...

The United States

will be better

when bill ackman's gone.

Good. How're you doing?

Um, clock, countdown clock.

Do you want time of day,

or do you want to count time?

What do you mean?

-We have a speaker timer.

-During the presentation


Just count going up.

-Count going up from zero?


You got it. Thank you, sir.


the company is

clearly panicking.

They know what we have.

Male reporter:

They say, bill, that

herbalife continues to face

An unprecedented attack

To support

your billion-dollar bet

To manipulate and drive

herbalife stock price to zero.

Female reporter:

Seems like all of wall street

is against you.

Man 2:
Ackman is a liar.

You scare

the hell out of people,

get the stock down,

And tells the world

how great he is.

Female reporter:

You still believe

this company is worth zero?


The company is the goose

that laid the golden egg.

And trust me,

I have never seen a goose

put out so many golden eggs

- In my entire life.

For two years,

hedge fund ceo bill ackman

Has been managing

a massive short position

in herbalife.

Betting that company

would soon fail,

And that, as the price of

herbalife stock

plummeted towards zero,

His investors

in pershing square

would make a fortune.

I just need to be authentic.

-Make you look like a zombie?



we are managing capital

for others,

And most of the time

We buy stakes in companies

and work to make them

more valuable.

But a couple times

in our history,

We come across a company

we think is causing harm

Operating illegally, uh,

And we can make money

betting against that company.

How much money have you spent

betting against herbalife?

Uh, we have a short position

of over a billion dollars.

On the makeup, I'm kind of

a less-is-more guy.




I've had one other very big

public short in my career,

Which was this short I took

in a company called mbia.

We were saying that

a aaa-graded company

was basically insolvent.

People thought

this was absurd.

The company accused us

Of spreading false

and misleading information

about their business.

Mbia took seven years

for us to be proven right.

And ultimately,

the company collapsed

during the credit crisis,

Because of exposure

to subprime mortgages.

A reporter named

christine richard

At bloomberg news

got interested in the story,

And then ended up

writing a book

About my battle with mbia

called confidence game.

And then she joined

an independent research firm

To focus on short ideas,

Companies to bet against.

And she called me one day

and said, "bill, I think

I've got the next mbia."

Hello. I'm michael johnson.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Betting on Zero" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 12 May 2021. <>.

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