New products? Innovation? Tim Cook you are lying. At least so says Wall Street. If the stock is so cheap, why not buy it all now? Unless of course this quarter and next quarter are in the toilet also. Wall Street wants to hear none of Mr. Cook, as he repulsed the analysts on the conference call last night. Wall Street, though is respectful, and they won't show it on the call, but they will on the downgrades of the stock, and today, they got a slew of them, as they vehemently, in the only way that Wall Street can, tell Tim Cook to go and screw himself in the only way they can!
Tim Cooks says sorry to China, but lies to Wall Street. Cook breaks the code, instead of having Apple engineers write some code on iOS, for a 5" screen, and then, he disengeniously calls the lack of code writing a "trade-off." On Wall Street you tell the truth, and you man up. You don't hide behind platitudes of bullsh*t.
So Wall Street gives Tim Cook the finger today, and here is an example. Apple removed from Focus List, target cut to $545 at JPMorgan
JPMorgan removed Apple from its Analyst Focus List and lowered its price target for shares to $545 from $725 following the company's Q2 results. The firm thinks Apple's June quarter outlook could weigh on shares over the short-term, but feels the company's buyback and dividend boost could set a floor in the stock. JPMorgan keeps an Overweight rating on Apple.
Apple price target lowered to $500 from $575 at Goldman.
Goldman lowered Apple estimates but continues to believe new product cycles will remedy current challenges. Shares are Buy rated.
Apple multiples likely permanently lowered, says Oppenheimer
After Apple reported in-line EPS for its March quarter but provided June quarter guidance that the firm views as weak, Oppenheimer thinks that several factors, including negative mix changes and increased competition, will cause the company's multiples to be "permanently hurt." The firm thinks that the shares are likely to be range bound until the company's next product cycle, which it believes will "make or break the stock." Nevertheless the firm keeps an Outperform rating on the shares.
Apple downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital
BMO Capital downgraded Apple to reflect longer-term concerns regarding the "trade off" for revenue growth vs. margins and the impact of increased competition on ASP's, which will offset improved capital allocation. The firm lowered estimates and reduced its price target lowered to $435 from $440.
Apple price target lowered to $480 from $575 at Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank lowered its estimates and price target for Apple due to lower margin assumptions following the company's Q2 results. The firm notes that Apple management did not confirm the June quarter will be a margin trough. Deutsche says Apple's buyback and increased dividend do not hide the fact that new products need to be introduced. The firm maintains a Buy rating on the stock despite dropping its estimates and price target.
Apple price target lowered to $475 from $505 at CLSA
CLSA lowered Apple estimates but said its shares price is discounting lower gross margins. The firm believes shares can outperform as new product cycles and the $60B buyback kick in and maintains its Outperform rating.
Apple price target lowered to $430 from $480 at Citigroup
Citigroup says Apple's below-consensus guidance partially nullifies the positive earnings impact from its big buyback increase. Citi expects investor attention to focus on Apple's weakening fundamentals now that the capital allocation catalyst is removed. The firm keeps a Neutral rating on the stock with a lower price target following Apple's Q2 results.
Tim Cook has spoken eight times before Wall Strreet, and every time he has spoken the stock has moved down. Today in the after-hours it went from 429 to 405. Tim now is promising great stuff in 2014.
Really? How about when Apple was asked about making a 5" iPhone, three months ago and Tim Cook panned that idea. He was asked about it again during the conference call; and once again it was panned.
Ben A. Reitzes – Barclays Capital, Inc.
All right, thanks and Tim my follow-up just for you, just maybe asking you this every quarter in different ways. But I just wanted to you get reaction to what you thought of the 5-inch phone market at this time versus three months ago? And if anything has changed in your view as to that market and it’s placed in the smartphone world versus your 4-inch product? And that’s it for me.
Yeah Ben, good question. It might continue to be that iPhone 5 has become the best to supply in the industry. And we always drive to create the very best display for our customers. Some customers’ value large screen size, others value cost of other factors such as resolution, color quality, white balance, brightness, productivity, screen longevity, power consumption, portability, compatibility,appsmany things. Other – our competitors had made some significant trade-offs in many of these areas in order to ship a larger display, we want to get the larger display, iPhone by trade-offs (inaudible)...(sic).we would not ship a larger display iPhone while these trade-offs exist...(inaudible)
(Cook basically said the larger screen resolution wasn't good enough with Apple's current technology/operating system)
The reason Apple is panning this is that they have to change their code on their operating system so the screen can be used, and that's the problem. So then, what magic is Apple going to bring to the market? In 2014??
Maybe Apple's problem is really Tim Cook, and what Tim Cook thinks is important.
Let's take a look at Cook. Below is Tim on an Apple Special event on September 12 2012....
He said the company had spent 2½ years working on every detail of the store,”getting everything exactly right.” He mentioned that Apple used limestone from a local quarry to restore and modernize the store. “No one would have done this but Apple,” he said. “It’s absolutely gorgeous.”
At last June’s World Wide Developers Conference, Cook highlighted the retail chain at the beginning of his keynote to formally introduce iOS 6.
“It has a signature glass staircase and the opening had a signature crowd,” Cook narrated as the slides changed from the store interior to the outside waiting line. ”Our customers in Barcelona loved this store...”
So if Tim Cook got that bent out of shape over the Barcelona store, what is happening to Apple manager's as they are spending $6 billion on their spaceship corporate headquarters??
Apple's idea of innovation is to now take on debt to buy back stock, as AAPL "invests in themselves."
So CAT cuts numbers for $7, and the stock doesn't sell off,as bargain hunters look to buy the stock at 80. So do you really think AAPL can say anything on Tuesday's earning call that will make the stock go down?
And now, that we have a whisper campaign, of "Fire Tim Cook" on Wall Street--at least now the boadroom is understanding that AAPL's non nonchalance to a $290 billion loss of shareholder value and 44% plunge in the stock is finally enough and at 390 you buy AAPL stock without worry, as every kitchen sink disaster is already priced in!
After watching the debacle in the price of Apple common
stock, I have finally decided to write you a note.
Above is a graph of your stock price. A, is when you had the
problems with maps. B is your 60 minutes
interview, and C is when you stated, regarding the $140 billion pile of cash on
your balance sheet, that you were “seriously considering” that issue.
Wall Street is very simple. It is expectation and earnings
game, and you, as a CEO have failed Wall Street and much of the $250 billion of
value, lost in AAPL stock, can be explained by management’s missteps.
Consider that you will release earnings on April 23, and as
expected, will announce your dividend rate. Wall Street has come to the
conclusion that a dividend increase will probably come at that time, ostensibly
to diffuse your weak earnings and prospective guidance for the next quarter.
(See Morgan Stanley’s research note today on 4/12/13).
Previously you stated that Wall Street shouldn’t look at
AAPL trends/extrapolations from supplier issues. If that statement is true,
then you have done a disservice to shareholders who actually, have to use their
own money to buy the stock, and have reacted to those reports by selling Apple,
as Wall Street has already analyzed that.
If however, your earnings are poor, then we can understand
why you decided to wait on a dividend increase at earnings, because of the
simplistic mind set at Apple. Either way, it shows poor judgment.
Apple was held in very high regard by corporations and
individuals alike. The stock swoon has caused individuals and corporations to
take a closer look at Apple as a corporation, and the veneer of Apple, the
corporation is being washed away. We know that AAPL the corporation has stashed
$90 billion in cash overseas, to avoid taxes. We know that Apple as a
corporation has a business model that depends on low wage Chinese workers to
assemble your products, to increase your profitability, at the expense of those
workers. We know that AAPL as a
corporation has stashed $140 billion in investments that have not generated any
substantial return, and that their dogged pursuit of safety, shows that Apple’s
money managers, have a fear complex that permeates their investment decisions. We
also know, that Apple, as a corporation, spent billions on a buybacks at much
higher prices than current prices, with a hastly conceived buyback program that
aided Wall Street instead of shareholders! And we know that you have apologized
to China, but have completely disrespected your shareholders who own shares of
Apple. Wall Street trusted Steve Jobs to do what is right; Wall Street trusts
you, only, to do what is wrong.
Now you may disagree with what I say, and you may completely
disregard this letter as the ravings of a malcontent shareholder, but you will
be sorely mistaken. The stock price already assures that at this moment in
time, I am right and that Apple as a corporation has already made many missteps;
and therefore, you have done the only thing you could do, and that is to ignore
the issue, in that hopes that eventually, the stock price will rise, and then, your
sagacious Zen like quietness will be proven to be proper, and therefore, in the
future, you can tell shareholders that Apple, like Father, always knows best,
and the best advice, is to ignore Wall Street.
But it isn’t Wall Street that you are ignoring; it is the
shareholders and the buyers of your products who have become disgruntled with
your brand, which has been badly tarnished by the resultant fall in your stock.
And now, Mr. Cook, your comparisons, to Steve Ballmer of
Microsoft, has already started.
Microsoft never regained the edge that it had when Bill Gates handed
over the reins, a situation that Wall Street feels is now happening with Apple.
The result of that perception, and low expectations for the company, has caused
Apple’s stock price, to be giddily pushed around by Wall Street, depending on
the open interest of the weekly option expiration contracts!
Isn’t that ironic? The biggest and most profitable company
in the world gets pushed around by Wall Street, because Apple has adopted a
“Father knows best” attitude!
So you can ignore Wall Street, while you are safely seated
in your Apple ivory tower, but it still leaves one question unanswered, “What
if Wall Street is right?”
AGIN is the latest stock pump. Graphene, graphite digging for minerals, and a $100 million market cap company.
It is the latest tip from the pump and dump Wall St Revelator.
And guess what--Heavenly Vision, LTD paid $1,160,000 to pay for the cost of creating this advertisement!
And they are circulating it in Wisconsin and the Midwest so the folks there can get fleeced.
Well I got news for shareholders of AGIN. This pump and dump on the market needs to be stopped. So get out!
The stock didn't even trade a couple weeks ago, it may have traded 100 or 500 shares of stock on a lucky day. Now it's traded 10 million shares the last week, and the dumpers are selling stock to every buyer!
The promoter, and only employee/consultant of this company lives in Greece, but he rents out a virtual office in Las Vegas for $40 a month next to every other stock pump and stock thief that trolls around looking to steal investors money with over hyped false claims. SEC filings indicates he spends about 20 hours a week on this company that supposedly has a trillion dollar market potential!
The is NOT a business. This is a business of STOCK PROMOTION ONLY!
His name is Rick Walchuk, and he touted mineral claims with New America Energy. That stock can be had for a fraction of a penny. Now he's into Graphene or Graphite, or the next gee whiz project!
The company that has this revolutionary, supposed market opportunity of $1.8 trillion dollars---Well guess where it came from. Cheap Tubes, Inc.
And so, for a $10,000 payment to Cheap Tubes, they put on paper a new company called CTI Nanotechnologies!!
The stock promo on this number just becomes dirtier and dirtier!
Look at this tout, saying they have an $80 Billion potential in the "Plan Nord" area of Quebec. Here is a picture.
Today they flipped a press release out on this property. They didn't tell you it cost them all of $5,500 for the claims--yet it is going to be worth $80 billion! They are doing their pump, and they want investors money!
And the market potential of $1.8 trillion?
For a product that isn't even developed!! SELL IT, DUMP IT, OR SHORT IT TO ZERO!!
Stay away, the stock is going to ZERO; and I think that it should be halted now!
It is a classic pump and dump, designed to take your money.
Sell it or Short it or Stay Away!
It's going to ZERO, just like every other company that Rick Walchuk has a publicly filed ownership stake!
Every befuddled hedge fund manager that panics over--Oh MY----sequester, Oh My---- Italy, Cyprus, Oh My--Mila Kunis buying stocks, Oh My--Cyprus, because--Oh MY---some money launders are going to be charged some vig---Give me a break!
Why do you think all these hedge funds are underperforming?
So what will they do--maybe they will get some "alpha" in Bank of America--or maybe they will "overweight" AAPL and it will rally into the end of the quarter--Heck, maybe they will load up on AAPL calls--whatever...
It is just gobbledygook and nonsense.
Why? Because they're whimps!
Market drops and they get scared. David Einhorn down $140 points in Apple, and he really, actually thinks that Apple will create iPerfs?
Did anyone look at the phone he used in his presentation?
He didn't even use a picture of an iPhone 5!
Yeh, yeh, yeh--I know these guys are supposed to be the smartest guys in the room--Says who??
Like picking stocks in tough in a huge bull market???
Give me a break!
For gosh sakes, you think that all the traders on Wall Street were babies.
No wonder the E-Trade ads are so popular!
But as the post below shows, you can still make 500% in BAC two week calls!
Whitney is right--The stock will be in the 20s--but it will be within a year. It's the cheapest big bank on the board!
Anyway here is what Meredith had to say:
"Bank of America was already one of the most undervalued names going into the stress tests. What's amazing about this is very rarely do these banks have value and momentum, and this has both of those. The stress test was a huge catalyst for this name. It has been this huge stealth deliverer. They announced cost-cutting measures in 2010. No bank has taken the kind of [cost-cutting] measures it has taken. And it takes two years to implement those. It can easily go to $15. And over the next two years, into the $20s. It's all cost-cutting, it's all operating leverage. I don't have a lot of growth expectations for the big banks in general."
Heck she even made SUMMLY
So if you read this far--I'll show you how to make 500% on two bits!
Check out the two week March 12.50 calls on BAC. They closed at .25 They should be able to go to $1.25.
BAC Mar 2013 12.500 call (BAC130328C00012500)
0.25 0.04(13.79%)3:57PM ED
0.14 - 0.32
N/A - N/A
Anyway, remember when I chided Meredith's bearishness? No need for that anymore!!!!!
Glad to welcome her to the bulls!
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
One Femme Fatale's fatal flaw
Wall Street and Hollywood.
Real life, and reel life!
And lord knows, we must take Wall Street and our money serious! Isn't that what Jon Stewart taught us?
So let's have some fun, since we're not supposed to when we talk stocks!
Remember Sharone Stone, the femme fatale of the 90's?
Let's look at her domestic box office revenue:
Basic Instinct did $117 million. Sliver did $36 million. The Quick and the Dead did $18 million.
The more Ms. Stone bared her assets, the greater the box office! But when Ms. Stone needed to up her revenue, by reverting back to the same formula that brought her success, it didn't work.
Basic Instinct 2 brought in only $6 million at the box office, despite Ms. Stone baring hers!
Her bare days were over, but she didn't know it! She needed to change her role!
Wall Street's femme fatale has been Meredith Whitney, the former Oppenheimer analyst who has now started her own shop.
She used to terrorize the bulls with her market calls, and bankingCEO's were afraid of her, as were men of Catherine Tramell's icepicks!
Meredith Whitney used to keep the financial world on edge, and she had the ability to move the markets. Especially, when the power was in the bear's hands, and the bearish hedge funds who generated fees through their relationship.
Let's check out her box office when she was on CNBC.
On February 21, 2008, when she was on CNBC the market dropped143 points or 1.2%On September 15, 2008, when she was on CNBC the market dropped504 points or 4.4%. On November 5, 2008, when she was on CNBC the market dropped 486 points or 5%. On December 1, 2008, when she was on CNBC the market dropped680 points or 7.7%.
Notice the progression? It's apparent, that the markets were listening to what she said. But just like Sharon Stone, she overplayed her role.
On Tuesday, March 10, 2009, she was on CNBC and Meredith warned the financial world of the perils of credit cards, on the day that we started the new bull market.
That day the Dow gained 379 points, or 5.9%; not quite the result her bearish clients wanted!
Today, one week later, Meredith tried again. The market was extended, and Monday we had a late day swoon. Her clients probably hoped she still had some magic left, to work the next morning!
It wasn't to be.
The market was up 178.73 points, or 2.48%, despite Ms. Whitney's bearish proclamations on credit. She said the banking industry would be worse in 2009 than in 2008!
Like Ms. Stone, Ms. Whitney needed to change her role.
And just like Ms. Stone, Ms. Whitney's bear days are over, but she doesn't yet know it.
When Sharon Stone, met Joey Ezterhaus after she signed for Basic Instinct, they had this dialogue:
S: You're so sly.
S: Catherine's last name. Trammell. I researched it. I know what it means.
J: What does it mean?
S: You know what it means.
(Michael Douglas "Will somebody end the suspense please?")
S: A tramell is a funeral shroud in Scottish mythology. Isn't that brilliant?
It was my sarcastic way of saying, that if you didn't buy into the bottom at 666, this bull market would bring it's own funeral to those who are bearish, who were waiting for the end of the world.
So why compare Ms. Stone to Ms. Whitney?
Because Meredith, like the name Tramell, also has interesting characteristics. But since I wrote about veils, while discussing Hebrew, and Jon Stewart's Jewish, let's look at Meredith through Hebrew eyes!
Now Hebrew letters also have a corresponding numerical value.
Meredith, in Hebrew is spelled Mem, Aleph, Resh, Aleph, Daleth, Yod and Tau. The corresponding numerical values are 40, 1, 200, 1, 4, 10, 400
They add to 656.
Didn't I title this piece, "One Femme Fatale's fatal flaw?"
Meredith just missed it by one!
It's time for her to take the veil off, or she will be left with Catherine Trammel's shroud!
Icahn Enterprises L.P. March 5, 2013 Board of Directors Dell Inc. One Dell Way Round Rock, Texas 78682
Attn.: Laurence P. Tu Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary Re: Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated as of February 5, 2013 (the “Going Private Transaction”).
Dear Board Members:
We are substantial holders of Dell Inc. shares. Having reviewed the Going Private Transaction, we believe that it is not in the best interests of Dell shareholders and substantially undervalues the company.
Rather than engage in the Going Private Transaction, we propose that Dell announce that in the event that the Going Private Transaction is voted down by shareholders, Dell will immediately declare and pay a special dividend of $9 per share comprised of proceeds from the following sources: (1) $4.26 per share, or $7.4 Billion, from available cash as proposed in the Going Private Transaction, (2) $1.73 per share, or $3 Billion, from factoring existing commercial and consumer receivables as proposed in the Going Private Transaction, and (3) $4.26, or $5.25 Billion in new debt.
We believe that such a transaction is superior to the Going Private Transaction because we value the proforma “stub” at $13.81 per share using a discounted cash flow valuation methodology based on a consensus of analyst forecasts. The “stub” value of $13.81 combined with our proposed $9.00 special dividend gives Dell shareholders a total value of $22.81 per share, representing a 67% premium to the $13.65 per share price proposed in the Going Private Transaction. We have spent a great deal of time and effort in determining the $22.81 per share value and would be pleased to meet with you to share our analysis and to understand why you disagree, if you do.
We hope that this Board will agree to adopt our proposal by publicly announcing that the Board is committed to implement our proposal if the Going Private Transaction is voted down by Dell shareholders. This would avoid a proxy fight.
However, if this Board will not promise to implement our proposal in the event that the Dell shareholders vote down the Going Private Transaction, then we request that the Board announce that it will combine the vote on the Going Private Transaction with an annual meeting to elect a new board of directors. We then intend to run a slate of directors that, if elected, will implement our proposal for a leveraged recapitalization and $9 per share dividend at Dell, as set forth above. In that way shareholders will have a real choice between the Going Private Transaction and our proposal. To assure shareholders of the availability of sufficient funds for the prompt payment of the dividend, if our slate of directors is elected, Icahn Enterprises would provide a $2 billion bridge loan and I would personally provide a $3.25 billion bridge loan to Dell, each on commercially reasonable terms, if that bridge financing is necessary.
Like the “go shop” period provided in the Going Private Transaction, your fiduciary duties as directors require you to call the annual meeting as contemplated above in order to provide shareholders with a true alternative to the Going Private Transaction. As you know, last year’s annual meeting was held on July 13, 2012 (and indeed for the past 20 years Dell’s annual meetings have been held in this time frame) and so it would be appropriate to hold the 2013 annual meeting together with the meeting for the Going Private Transaction, which you have disclosed will be held in June or early July.
If you fail to agree promptly to combine the vote on the Going Private Transaction with the vote on the annual meeting, we anticipate years of litigation will follow challenging the transaction and the actions of those directors that participated in it. The Going Private Transaction is a related party transaction with the largest shareholder of the company and advantaging existing management as well, and as such it will be subject to intense judicial review and potential challenges by shareholders and strike suitors. But you have the opportunity to avoid this situation by following the fair and reasonable path set forth in this letter.
Our proposal provides Dell shareholders with substantial cash of $9 per share and the ability to continue as owners of Dell, a stock that we expect to be worth approximately $13.81 per share following the dividend. We believe, as apparently does Michael Dell and his partner Silver Lake, that the future of Dell is bright. We see no reason that the future value of Dell should not accrue to ALL the existing Dell shareholders – not just Michael Dell.
As mentioned in today’s phone call, we look forward to hearing from you tomorrow to discuss this matter without the need for us to bring this to the public arena.
Very truly yours, Icahn Enterprises L.P. By: Carl C. Icahn Chairman of the Board
And once again, the FREE MONEY pick, touting HLF and advertised this morning six hours before the opening was FREE MONEY for the taking.
The Press release and the squeeze on Ackman today continues!!
Herbalife (HLF) today announced that it has reached an agreement with Carl C. Icahn, Icahn Enterprises Holdings L.P. and certain related entities (collectively the “Icahn Parties”), which beneficially own, in the aggregate 14,015,151 shares of Herbalife common stock, representing approximately 13.6% of the Company’s outstanding shares. As part of the agreement, Herbalife will increase the size of its Board of Directors from nine to eleven members immediately before the 2013 Annual General Meeting of Shareholders (“the Annual Meeting”). Herbalife’s Board of Directors will nominate two individuals to the Company’s Board of Directors, designated by the Icahn Parties and approved by the Company’s Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Icahn Parties have agreed to, among other things, abide by certain standstill provisions and vote their shares in support of all of the Board’s director nominees. The Icahn Parties have the right to increase the size of their ownership position in Herbalife up to 25% of the outstanding common stock. A copy of the agreement with further detail will be attached to a Current Report on Form 8-K to be filed by Herbalife with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“We are pleased to have reached this agreement and look forward to working with the Icahn representatives as members of our Board of Directors,” said Michael O. Johnson, chairman and chief executive officer of Herbalife. “We appreciate the Icahn Parties’ shared views on the inherent value of Herbalife’s operations, products and future prospects.”
“Over its long history, Herbalife has proven its ability to increase revenues and returns, and we will work with the Company to build on its results,” said Mr. Icahn. “We conducted considerable research on Herbalife and its business before making our investment in the Company, and have great respect for its Board and management team, and believe in the Company's great potential. We expect our shareholder representatives to provide positive input into Board decisions affecting the future of the Company.”
Bill Ackman is stuffed to the gills with JCP, and his buddy, Ron Johnson from AAPL, who came over to JCP---who thought he could turn JCP around by pretending it was Target, found out that he has some work to do and JCP will trade down today.
So if JCP trades down Herbalife will go up. Why? Because Ackman is short over 20 million shares of Herbalife and Wall Street will smell some blood in the water, and will attempt to make Ackman's Thursday just a little bit worse!
Do the math for yourself! Ackman owns about 40 million shares of JCP, and his short about the same dollar amount of Herbalife stock.
Now Wall Street dresses up in suits and pretends that their analysis of companies is so rigorous, but in reality, that 's just another show for the street. Anyone that looked at Ackman's short thesis on Herbalife will see that he is out to lunch; and since Billy owns about 40 million shares of JCP, and he has been woefully wrong--doesn't that mean he could be just as wrong on his short thesis on HLF?
But wait--there's more! Remember how Bill Ackman brought in Johnson to rescue JCP? Guess who is new boy is to help the show?
Sergio Zyman! Remember him? If not, let me give you a clue. He wrote a book.
And what did he do at Coke?
The biggest product failure in Coke's history!
And now this is Ackman's guy to help JCP! Anybody think that even Coke bottle glasses won't help the sanctimonious Ackman see straight?
You may hate the logic, but if you want to make money on Wall Street, you need cowboy, gun slinger logic, and in a few hours, Ackman is going to get shot at!
So Wall Street will gun HLF, while they lean on JCP!
How tough is that?
Yesterday, there wasn't any sellers in HLF, and they snuck the stock up to 37.44 without any problem. Today Ackman's long position in JCP gets deeper underwater, so Wall Street will try and squeeze him with his short on HLF.
It's just that simple.
So squeeze him with the support of the Street!! It's your Free Money trade of the day!!
Francis H. C. Crick Nobel Prize Medal and Nobel Diploma. In 1962, Dr. Francis Harry Compton Crick received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, along with Drs. James Dewey Watson and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins, for "...their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material." It was a discovery that launched a scientific revolution and forever changed man's understanding of life.
Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) first established the Nobel Prize in 1895. Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, was condemned by the French press in 1888 following a false report that he had died (it was actually his brother) and, not wanting to be forever remembered as the "Merchant of Death" or the man who got "...rich by finding ways to kill more people faster...," he resolved to repair his legacy before it was too late. Using a portion of his last will and testament, he stated: "The whole of my remaining realizable estate shall be dealt with in the following way: the capital, invested in safe securities by my executors, shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind. The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts..." Those five parts are still represented today as the prizes for physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace (the prize for economics did not appear until 1969). Each Nobel laureate is presented a medal, a personalized diploma, and a cash prize.
This particular medal, designed by Swedish artist Erik Lindberg, measures 6.5 cm in diameter (approximately 2.5") and weighs 198.6 grams. Struck in 23 carat gold, the obverse features a side portrait of Alfred Nobel with the dates of his birth and death in Roman numerals. The reverse "...represents the Genius of Medicine holding an open book in her lap, collecting the water pouring out from a rock in order to quench a sick girl's thirst." An inscription appears above the figures, reading: "Inventas vitam juvat excoluisse per artes." Taken from the sixth song, verse 663, of Virgil's "Aeneid," it is translated as, "inventions enhance life which is beautified through art." The lower outside section of the medal bears a second inscription, "REG. UNIVERSITAS MED. CHIR. CAROL," the Karolinska Institutet (The Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institutet, one of the most esteemed medical universities in Europe, is responsible for choosing the laureates for the award for Physiology or Medicine). The initials of Crick are engraved in a plate below the figures along with the year of the prize, 1962, presented in Roman numerals: "F. H. C. Crick/MCMLXII." The medal is housed in an elegant, yet simple, red leather case with Crick's initials giltstamped on the top, surrounded by a decorative border, also in gilt. When open, the inside lip of both the top and bottom feature a giltstamped border. The medal rests securely in a fitted box of yellow velvet with satin lined top.
The second piece of the Prize, the Nobel diploma, is also included. Two beautifully handwritten, vellum pages, 9.5" x 13.5", in Swedish, Stockholm, October 18, 1962. Until 1964, each diploma featured unique artwork designed by a Swedish artist, in this case, Bertha Svensson-Piehl. The art appears in the top half of the first page, showing a long-haired youth in a blue tunic and slippers holding the rod of Asclepius, framed by what appears to be a doorway. The diploma gives the name of the recipients (Crick's name appears above the others in red) and the reason why they have been selected to receive such a prestigious award. The diploma bears three signatures at the end, presumably members of the Nobel Foundation. Mounted in a turquoise leather portfolio with decorative borders giltstamped on the front and rear covers, Crick's monogram appears in gilt on the front cover, surrounded by a wreath of laurels and the rear cover features a giltstamped rod of Asclepius. The diploma is detaching from the portfolio along the top edge of the first page and the right half and top edge of the second page. There are several scattered spots of foxing and light toning.
Francis Harry Compton Crick (1916-2004) showed an aptitude toward science at an early age, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Physics from University College London at the age of 21. He pursued a Doctorate in Physics studying the viscosity of water at high temperatures, but his studies were derailed during the Second World War when, during the Blitz, a German bomb landed in his laboratory, destroying his equipment. He spent the rest of the war working for the British Admiralty designing acoustic and magnetic mines.
In 1947, with a waning interest in physics, he embarked on the study of what he called "the border between living and the nonliving" - molecular biology. Having no knowledge of biology or organic chemistry, he had to begin from scratch, spending the first few years familiarizing himself with the subject. In 1949, he joined the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge and, during this period, began working with X-ray diffraction and helical structures.
Crick first met James D. Watson (b. 1928), a 23 year old American postdoctoral zoologist with a background in genetics, in 1951. Watson had become interested in the structural chemistry of nucleic acids and proteins and the two men, discovering a shared common goal of solving the molecular structure of deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, became close friends and partners. Using available X-ray crystallography data from Rosalind Franklin and Morris Wilkins at the King's lab in London, they attempted to build a model of DNA in late 1951, but the model was incorrect. In 1953, spurred on by the chemist Linus Pauling's published, but incorrect model of DNA, they made a second attempt. On February 28, 1953 they correctly concluded that the two parallel chains of the DNA double helix must run in opposite directions and that the complementary nucleotide bases pack into the core of the DNA double helix. This immediately suggested to them the method by which all life would be replicated. Shortly after their discovery, they entered Eagle Pub in Cambridge where, according to Watson, Crick enthusiastically declared they had "found the secret of life."
Crick and Watson published their findings in a one-page paper in Nature on April 25, 1953, illustrated with a schematic drawing of the double helix by Crick's wife, Odile. They further developed their ideas about genetic replication in a second article in Nature, published on May 30, 1953. The two demonstrated that double-helix could both produce an exact copy of itself and carry genetic instructions. Crick went on to elaborate on the implications of the double-helical model, advancing the revolutionary hypothesis, widely accepted now; that the sequence of the bases in DNA forms the code by which genetic information can be stored and transmitted.
Dr. Francis Crick, alongside Drs. Watson and Wilkins, received his Nobel Prize from the hand of King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden at the Stockholm Concert Hall on December 10, 1962. Professor A. Engström, a member of the staff of the Karolinska Institute who presented the men with their award, summed up the impact of their discovery during his presentation speech: "Today no one can really ascertain the consequences of this new exact knowledge of the mechanisms of heredity. We can foresee new possibilities to conquer disease and to gain better knowledge of the interaction of heredity and environment and a greater understanding for the mechanisms of the origin of life...Your discovery of the molecular structure of [DNA], the substance carrying the heredity, is of utmost importance for our understanding of one of the most vital biological processes. Practically all the scientific disciplines in the life sciences have felt the great impact of your discovery. The formulation of double helical structure of the deoxyribonucleic acid with the specific pairing of the organic bases, opens the most spectacular possibilities for the unravelling of the details of the control and transfer of genetic information."
Machines proliferating in home kitchens can be used, off label, to make herb-infused sparkling wine and heady cocktails.....Curious cooks have begun hacking carbonators, the soda-making machines that are proliferating in American home kitchens. Most buyers are happy to use them for their intended purpose: turning tap water into sparkling water. But off-label, they have been used to make herb-infused sparkling wine, newfangled sangria, heady cocktails and nonalcoholic — but intoxicatingly delicious — sodas.
Recently, in a storefront laboratory in Chinatown, Piper Kristensen, a bartender and occasional lab assistant who works for the avant-garde bar Booker and Dax in the East Village, studied a SodaStream Penguin. It had arrived fitted with a new feature, a device that was preventing him from carbonating the clear tomato juice he had purified in a centrifuge. He probed the carbonator’s dispensing valve, figured out that its plastic collar had to be raised, and twisted on a rubber band. In short order, he poured a fizzy cocktail of tomato juice, vodka and sugar into elegant cordial glasses....But the home brew looks poised to take over the market...All this explains why so many people are taking their soda machines off-road. With a little practice, it’s possible to make inexpensive, relatively healthy, brightly flavored sodas in a sweet spectrum of fruit, using ingredients, like fresh lemon, that are rarely used in bottled drinks.
SODA is a disruptive technology, and the stock at 46 is a buy!!!
I'm guessing but I believe that I have surely had more meals at Cracker Barrel than Sardar Biglari; so it is very hard pressed for me to find out anything wrong with this restaurant or management. CBRL also owns the land on over 400 stores, so therefore, you can easily see the value proposition in buying the stock of this efficiently run company. Sardar Biglari, however, does not see things this way; and therefore he is attempting to get a board seat on this company, as he wants people to believe that he can run the company better, or that, somehow he can influence management in their decision making. This, of course, is a ruse. Mr. Biglari has suspect motives, and is only interested in getting a board seat on CBRL to give him the veneer and patina of respectability that he does not deserve.
Mr. Biglari, however, has done one thing very well---he has recognized that CBRL is a very valuable property, and one that will be worth much more in the future, and he has backed up that observation with a now $330 million bet, of which he is now up over $100 million on. But unlike real value investors like Buffet, Mr. Biglari, is now creating a sideshow, so he can try and take the credit for all the hard work and effort the good people at Cracker Barrel do in their daily job, and therefore attribute the outsize performance of CBRL common stock to his nudging and his distraction to the company.
Biglari Holdings has taken a 20% stake in Cracker Barrel, and has been trying to shake up management, even though CBRL has been doing everything right. Unlike Einhorn with AAPL, Biglari Holdings is really a "silly sideshow" but Cracker Barrel had the grace to professionally engage in dialogue with him. Sardar Biglari, likens himself to "Warren Buffet" but that is just another delusional self deception that Bilgari has. He's more like Gordon Gekko.
From what we have seen, his style is to try and antagonize management, and engage in conflict, and hope that his distraction will allow him to do financial engineering at the company. The New York Times has already stated that he is a "combative" investor. Biglari previously tried a hostile takeover of Fremont Michigan Insurance at $24. His techniques were so adversarial that the Michigan legislature introduced a bill to stop his tactics with companies of less than 200 employees. But Sadir's relentess pursuit of Fremont, eventually caused it to be sold for $36 to Auto Club Insurance. His incentive to antagonize management is his pay. 25% of the increased value of the book value of Biglari holdings above 6% accrues to Sardar each year.
Sardar owns Steak & Shake, of which he changed the name to Bilagri Holdings, ostensibly because either the name change impressed the ladies more in his Lamborghini or because the initial of BH were the same as Berkshire Hathaway. His annual letters and website bear a strange similarity to Berkshire Hathaway. But unlike Berkshire Hathaway, Sardar has one of the most egregious compensation plans ever devised. 25% of the increase in book value above 6% of Bilgari Holdings accrue to himself each year, and after taxes, about half of that compensation must be used to buy Biglari Holdings common stock. In other words, he is using shareholder money to take your shares from you. And he has these dubious compensation packages with his tentacles in every part of his businesses. The Iranian born Biglaria likes to pretend that he is the next Warren Buffet; writing folksy letters, while shareholders in his company have the wool pulled over their eyes, and yanked from under their feet!
Here is Biglari Holdings website today.
And here is how it looked before he was forced to change the appearance.
Below is Buffet's old website, and today. Biglari Holdings even bold faced the B&H just as Warren Buffet did with Berkshire Hathaway.
Sardar shareholder letters mimic Warren Buffet shareholder letters in typeface, folksy banter, and content. Here is his 2010 letter. Read it and you will see the similarity.
The end of his 2010 shareholder letter, however states, "Call us nonconformists because we take a rather grim view when we adjudge all that could go wrong and then guard against it. We are managing BH to withstand severe economic conditions. Consequently we shun excessive debt."
But Sardar wants CBRL to lever themselves up? Warren Buffet wannabee or pretender? You make that call! Sadir appears to be pretending too hard!
Now Bilgari Holdings has a market cap of $480 million, of which its stake in CBRL is worth $330 million. Sardar has now set his sights on CBRL, which he says is poorly run, yet he sticks almost the entire worth of his Bilgari Holdings into the company. Does that sound disingenious? Now Wall Street, of course, is myopic, and sometimes these snake oil salesman like Sadar can get an audience on the street. So with that background, two weeks ago, CBRL played one of the greatest hands ever in restaurant poker. On February 13, the day before Valentine's Day CBRL offered to buy back Biglari's stake for about $310 million dollars.
Mr. Sardar Biglari
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Biglari Holdings Inc.
17802 IH 10 West, Suite 400
San Antonio, Texas 78257
We are writing on behalf of the Board of Directors of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (“Cracker Barrel”) to offer a buyback of the 4,737,794 shares of Cracker Barrel common stock currently held by Biglari Holdings Inc. and its affiliates (collectively, “Biglari Holdings”) at market price (subject to any adjustments that may be required by applicable Tennessee law). As our intention is to act in the best interests of all our shareholders and avoid a third consecutive costly and disruptive proxy contest, our Board has authorized us to make this offer to provide an efficient exit of Biglari Holdings’ position. We would note that we have spoken with other shareholders who have encouraged us to provide you with the opportunity to exit your position in Cracker Barrel by means of a buyback. Having previously conveyed to you our interest in exploring a buyback on November 30, 2012 and as recently as earlier today, our Board believes it is now appropriate to make this offer in writing. We welcome a dialogue with you concerning our proposal.
We respect Biglari Holdings’ ownership of Cracker Barrel stock and interest in the company. However, your proxy contests of 2011 and 2012, in which our shareholders decided not to elect you to the Board, have imposed significant financial costs on the Company and diverted meaningful time away from focusing on the strategic plan and maximizing shareholder value by our Board and management team. In each of the last two years, you rejected our good faith settlement offers of two board seats for independent directors chosen by you. Given this history, we assume that you remain intent on seeking a Board seat for yourself personally, despite the clear preference of our shareholders to the contrary. As an alternative to another proxy contest, we believe the buyback transaction we propose here would serve the best interests of the Company and our shareholders.
Our analysis of block trades and sell down programs shows that a meaningful discount would be typical if you were to exit on your own over a longer period of time. By contrast, our offer provides immediate price certainty to Biglari Holdings’ shareholders and allows for the monetization of an approximately $70 million appreciation in the value of the Cracker Barrel common stock acquired by Biglari Holdings since June 2011. Moreover, this accretive transaction would serve the best interests of all Cracker Barrel shareholders by enabling the Company to continue executing our sound business strategy without the threat of yet another costly and disruptive proxy contest. We are confident in our ability to complete the transaction promptly.
In order to proceed in a timely manner, we kindly ask for your indication of interest regarding further discussions in writing no later than February 20, 2013. If not provided by that date, we will assume that you have rejected our offer. If you indicate your readiness to move forward with this buyback, we will work with you promptly to negotiate definitive transaction agreements. We expect that the definitive agreements would include a three-year standstill restricting Biglari Holdings from acquiring shares of Cracker Barrel or taking other actions such as a proxy contest. Of course, as is customary in communications of this nature, our offer is being presented as a non-binding proposal, and any transaction will be subject to the execution of definitive transaction agreements by all applicable parties.
We hope that this letter gives you complete clarity with respect to our offer. We look forward to hearing from you.
James W. Bradford, Jr. Chairman of the Board
Sandra B. Cochran President and Chief Executive Officer
Now the Wall Street Journal opined that Cracker Barrel had made a tactical blunder with this offer, and proxy advisor David Eaton of Glass Lewis & Co., (after CBRL's blow-out earnings clearly made a mistake by saying) said that CBRL had given Bilgari "a foot in the door and more ammunition."
And what was Bilgari's response to CBRL's offer? More debt! Take on $300 million of debt and buy back stock. Bilgari--who likens himself to Buffett, wants Cracker Barrel to engage in financial engineering to boost returns instead of building stores!
So today CBRL comes out with earnings that blow the street away, and the stock is up 11% to $74.56!
Check out the daily chart on this beast!
CBRL beats numbers by .18, and raised earning estimates for the year. This was also the first quarter, in ten years with positive comparable store traffic against prior-year quarter with positive comparable store traffic!
So CBRL's earnings did many things today. It shut down Bilgari's thesis that Cracker Barrel's management needs any help or input from him. Check out the weekly chart on CBRL! These charts needs no explanation! But somehow Sardar Biglari, the self proclaimed "Buffet wannabee" thinks they do!
And CBRL also showed that they can play poker. They attempted to buy Biglari's stock, and buy it at a of 65 on February 13, when it now is 74 just two weeks later! In Wall Street lingo, it was as though CBRL was getting greenmail from Biglari!
Therefore, all those folks who said that CBRL did the wrong thing by attempting to buy back Biglari's stock at a market price, were hopelessly ill-informed.
And CBRL also showed the folks at the proxy advisory firm, that CBRL doesn't need any help from any financial engineers or raiders. CBRL already has enough cooks in the kitchen!
And finally if CBRL really wanted autonomy from any of these raiders, why don't they just pick up the phone and call the real Warren Buffet?
Then they would actually deal with a Buffet that would help the company grow!!