Sunday, July 16, 2017

Shipping: More On the Scam That Is Dryships AND a Tiny Treasure From The Past (DRYS)

I was thinking about the SEC's Regulation S and how it might apply to the DRYS scam and maybe doing a post on same, not so much because I want to do the legwork for some hotshot young securities attorney but because I'd get to use phrases like "Safe Harbor provisions" and "Offshore" stock offerings and calling the penny stock hucksters "Pirates" and how clever that would be in relation to a shipping company and oh, the fun we would have.

And then I realized why these bon mots were gurgling out of the subconscious:
SEC Chairman Levitt had said that reg. S was "one  safe harbor with too many pirates in it."

Oh yeah, that's right, the quip was in all the papers.

Worse though, it was suggested I look up one Jon B. Jordan.
Turns out he was a senior attorney in one of the SEC Regional Offices. Florida. Covered Boca Raton and other such securities cesspits. Wrote a monograph.
Got every single one of the shipping phrases into THE FREAKIN' HEADLINE:
Regulation  S  and  Offshore  Capital: Will  the  New  Amendments  Rid  the  Safe Harbor  of  Pirates?
It's a solid 73 page paper published in Northwestern University's Northwestern Journal of International Law & Business.
Has the Levitt quote as the first footnote.
On page one.

On top of that blow to self-perceived creativity, it appears the young hotshots don't need me either. Some of the advertisements from the last couple days:
SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Goldberg Law PC Announces the Filing of a Securities Class Action Lawsuit against DryShips Inc.
Pomerantz Law Firm Announces the Filing of a Class Action against DryShips Inc. and Certain Officers – DRYS
Stull, Stull & Brody Announces Class Action Suit on Behalf of Shareholders of DryShips Inc. (NASDAQ:DRYS)

Those were all posted after the close on Friday so, although the vultures move slow, they did move.

And so shall I.

Here's Paul Murphy at FT Alphaville:

“Because Americans are the dumbest investors around, and there’s lots of liquidity in this market.”
That’s a 12 year-old quote attributed to one George Economou.

He’s the shipping financier who controls Dryships, a company that got proper treatment from Spencer Jakab at the WSJ this week…

Jakab charts the extraordinary story of how this Greek carrier, whose shares leapt 1,500 per cent straight after Donald Trump’s election, has used a series of share issues to an offshore entity at discounted prices to raise hundreds of millions of dollars, which were then used to buy ships.

At the same time, Dryships has gone through a series of extreme stock consolidations which have more or less wiped out those holding the equity — with the exception of Economou, who controls the firm through super-voting stock…
Investors who bought DryShips shares last fall and held on have lost almost all of their money. A $10,000 investment in DryShips stock at the beginning of November was worth $167,000 two weeks later, during the brief price spike, but only about $2 today.
The story has unfolded rapidly over recent weeks, with shareholder Michael Sammons going to court in the Marshal Islands to try and get Economou stopped.

Sammons failed in that immediate attempt, but it looks like there further hearings on Monday, at 4pm Majuro time.

On this particular matter, though, it’s also worth reading Impert Research over at Seeking Alpha, who point out that Dryships considers itself to be pretty much beyond US law….

You have to follow the link for the tiny treasure but, because it's from 2005 and because it's by one of our favorite analyst/writers and because anyone who's been doing this stuff for a while will recognize the cyan-ish, green-ish blue ink, it's worth the trip.

Plus you get the rest of Mr. Murphy's thinking and a couple more links all rolled into one tight little pink-ish wrapper.

By-the-bye, we too were impressed with Mr. Jakab, introducing the story with:

These guys are doing stuff that would have gotten someone killed not that long ago.
A major piece from the Wall Street Journal. July 13, 2017...