Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"How Jim Chanos Spotted the HP Scandal" (HPQ)

I hate to admit it but I didn't even know there was a scandal. The stock is trading at 10-year lows, 12 bucks, last.
From CNBC's John Carney:
While many investors were caught off-guard Tuesday morning by the giant, allegedly fraud-ridden write-down by Hewlett-Packard of the value of Autonomy, hedge fund manager Jim Chanos wasn’t one of them.

Chanos, the founder of Kynikos (greek for “cynic”) Associates said HP was one of the companies he regarded as “the ultimate value trap” in a presentation delivered in July at the Delivering Alpha Conference sponsored by CNBC and Institutional Investor.

Chanos related the story of why he began to consider shorting HP. He had been short Automony, the British cloud-based business software and data company. When HP bought the company at a hefty premium, this raised a red flag for Chanos. What’s more, Chanos pointed out, several top Autonomy executives left the company shortly after the acquisition. 

Although some investors believed that HP was cheap enough to be considered a “value stock” because its price-to-earnings ratio was relatively low compared to competitors, Chanos said that HP appeared to be masking the true costs of its basic R&D costs with spending through acquisitions. If those costs were expensed as operating costs rather than capitalized as acquisitions, then revenues and cash flow at HP were basically flat, Chanos said....MORE 
The place just hasn't been the same since David Packard left.