Thursday 22 October 2015

Short sellers active again

Short seller Citron Research dropped a "bomb" on Valeant, a pharmaceutical company, the report can be found here.

Interestingly, well known hedge fund manager Bill Ackman is "long" the stock. Ackman himself is short Herbalife.

Bronte Capital wrote "Some comments on the Valeant conference call".

Bloomberg reports: "Ackman Feeling Shortseller's Sting as Citron Sinks Valeant Stock", a snippet:

Ackman, the billionaire hedge fund manager, has long maintained that Herbalife Ltd. is a house of cards -- a suggestion that’s drawn howls from the company. Now another Wall Street scold, Citron Research’s Andrew Left, says one of Ackman’s picks looks like the Enron Corp. of Big Pharma -- a claim the company, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., rebutted Wednesday.

Yet as Valeant’s share price plunged anew, Ackman was, in effect, getting a small taste of his own medicine. Left, a small-time short seller, had grabbed headlines and captivated Wall Street, much as Ackman has done with his campaign against Herbalife. While this dust-up might seem lopsided -- Ackman runs a prominent hedge fund, Left a relatively obscure investment and research shop -- it nonetheless underscored how vocal short-sellers can gain attention and turn markets against companies fast.

“If there’s one person in the world I don’t feel bad for, it’s Bill Ackman,” Left, a 45-year-old Florida native based in Los Angeles, said in a telephone interview. “If I could switch bank accounts and hair with him, I’d close out tomorrow. Ackman’s a hedge fund manager who goes short and goes long and sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”

Assuming there’s been no change in its holdings since the end of the second quarter, Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management has lost about $2.8 billion on Valeant as it declined 55 percent from an intraday peak of $263.81 on Aug. 6, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“In this business, nothing is personal,” Left said. “He goes home and sees his kids, I go home and see mine, and he does what he believes with his opinion.”

Biggest Selloff

If people had never heard of Citron Research before, they have now. Just after 10 a.m. Wednesday, the firm published a note suggesting Valeant was inflating its sales, igniting the biggest selloff anyone had ever seen in the stock. Laval, Quebec-based Valeant plunged as much as 40 percent, prompting a public response from the company and creating billions of dollars of losses for its hedge fund owners.

In a statement, Valeant said Citron’s research is “erroneous” and that the company derives no sales benefit from inventory held at specialty pharmacies mentioned in the report. It suggested Citron had reached inaccurate conclusions, misconstruing links between them that are explained by logistics and support agreements.

Past foes of Ackman saw irony that a company he’s invested in was sent reeling by a short-seller claiming that its revenue is overstated. Citron, the decade-old stock-commentary site originally founded as, said Valeant is using a specialty pharmacy called Philidor RX Services to store inventory and record those transactions as sales. “Is this Enron part deux?” the report said.

Just last week Muddy Waters wrote a scathing report about TeliaSonera, a Swedish telco involved in corruption which is, according to Muddy Waters, much larger than reported so far.

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