Curious how well insiders are doing with their buys? Click on this link or image above to scroll the significant buys of the last year.

The game changes this week. Earnings restricted blackouts are winding down as most companies have now reported the 3rd quarter.  Insider buying ramped considerably and you should have a lot of fun reading this week’s blog post. There are a lot of tea leaves to pick through.  Insiders don’t explain the logic of their big purchases.  We have to let the dollars speak for themselves and we can only imagine what they are saying. Add a few insiders willing to buy $millions of dollars instead of constantly selling and we’ve got a barn burner on our hands with Skillz.  Ultimately success is spelled in dollars and cents but in the short term, it’s all narrative.  This was our largest purchase from this crop of insider buying.

Finviz Chart

Name: Woodside Dennis
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-08  Shares Bought: 2,861 Average Price Paid: $694.58 Cost: $1,987,198
Company: ServiceNow Inc. (NOW)
ServiceNow, Inc. provides enterprise cloud computing solutions that define, structure, consolidate, manage, and automate services for enterprises worldwide. It operates the Now platform for workflow automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, performance analytics, electronic service catalogs and portals, configuration management systems, data benchmarking, encryption, and collaboration and development tools. The company also provides information technology (IT) service management applications; IT service management product suite for enterprise’s employees, customers, and partners; IT business management product suite; IT operations management product that connects a customer’s physical and cloud-based IT infrastructure; IT Asset Management to automate IT asset life cycles; and enterprise development operations product for developers’ toolchain. In addition, it offers security incident management, threat enrichment intelligence, vulnerability response management, and security incident intelligence sharing security operation products; governance, risk, and compliance product to create policies and controls; human resources, legal, and workplace service delivery products; safe workplace applications; customer service management product; and field service management applications. Further, it provides App Engine products; IntegrationHub enables applications to extend workflows; and professional, training, and customer support services. It serves government, financial services, healthcare, telecommunications, manufacturing, IT services, technology, oil and gas, education, and consumer products through direct sales team and resale partners. It has a strategic partnership with Celonis to help customers identify and prioritize processes that are suitable for automation. The company was formerly known as Service-now.com and changed its name to ServiceNow, Inc. in May 2012. The company was incorporated in 2004 and is headquartered in Santa Clara, California.

Dennis Woodside served as the Chief Operating Officer of Dropbox from April 2014 to September 4th, 2018. Previously he was the Chief Executive Officer of Motorola Mobility from its acquisition by Google, Inc. in May 2012 to winter 2014. He was the successor to Sanjay Jha. Dennis Woodside joined Google in 2003 and was responsible for leading sales operations in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Woodside, before becoming the CEO of Motorola Mobility, was the Senior Vice President of Google’s America Operations. On February 12, 2014, it was reported he joined cloud storage company Dropbox as COO. This move came after Google announced the sale of Motorola Mobility to Lenovo in January 2014. Additionally, it was reported that Woodside would be replaced by Jonathan Rosenberg, the former head of product management at Google, who will be appointed as the COO of Motorola Mobility.

Opinion: Service Now has been a long-term wealth creator. The share price this year alone has more than doubled. That makes me nervous.  Woodside has been a director of Service Now since August of 2018 and this is his first open-market buy as far as I can tell and it’s a large one, nearly $2 million.  Woodside is wealthy, no doubt, but he’s the only insider buying there.  The rest are pretty aggressive sellers.  That’s not in itself too unusual for tech companies like this where stock grants and options are part and parcel of the pay package.  We need a cloud software sell-off to bring some reason to this market but I have no crystal ball when that will happen.  Maybe Woodside just watched the price rise 5 x since he was appointed a director and just couldn’t restrain himself any longer. I can’t bring myself to pull the trigger at a forward PE of 95. Selling way out of the money puts is an option though.

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Brown Jeffrey J
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-08 Shares Bought: 4,200 Average Price Paid: $231.89 Cost: $973,911
Company: Medifast Inc. (MED)
Medifast (NYSE: MED) is the global company behind one of the fastest-growing health and wellness communities, OPTAVIA®, which offers scientifically developed products, clinically proven plans, and the support of Coaches and a Community to help Clients achieve Lifelong Transformation, One Healthy Habit at a Time®. Based on more than 40 years of experience, Medifast has redefined direct selling by combining the best aspects of the model. Its community of independent OPTAVIA Coaches has impacted 2 million lives and teaches Clients how to develop holistic healthy habits through the proprietary Habits of Health® Transformational System. Medifast is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and ranked second on FORTUNE’s 100 Fastest-Growing Companies list in 2020. The company was also named to Forbes’ 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in America list in 2017.  Medifast, Inc., through its subsidiaries, manufactures and distributes weight loss, weight management, healthy living products, and other consumable health and nutritional products in the United States and the Asia-Pacific. It offers bars, bites, pretzels, puffs, cereal crunch, drinks, hearty choices, oatmeal, pancakes, puddings, soft serves, shakes, smoothies, soft bakes, and soups under the Medifast, OPTAVIA, Thrives by Medifast, Optimal Health by Taking Shape for Life, and Flavors of Home brands. The company markets its products through point of sale transactions over e-commerce platforms and its franchisee system. Medifast, Inc.

Mr. Brown serves as a member of the Audit Committee and Executive Committee. He has also served as Lead Director of the Company since June 2015. Mr. Brown is the Chief Executive Officer and founding member of Brown Equity Partners, LLC (“BEP”), which provides capital to management teams and companies needing equity capital. Mr. Brown has 34 years of private equity and corporate governance experience. He has served as Chairman of the Board of 12 companies and on the Board of Directors of over 50 companies in both the public and private sectors. He has chaired the Audit, Compensation, Finance, and special committees of these organizations as well as been Lead Director.

Opinion: I’m pretty much over MLM companies and suggest you do the same.

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Dreyfus Maria S
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-08 Shares Bought: 10,632 Average Price Paid: $188.07 Cost: $1,999,611
Company: Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PXD)
Pioneer Natural Resources Company is an American company engaged in hydrocarbon exploration headquartered in Irving, Texas. It operates in the Cline Shale, which is part of the Spraberry Trend of the Permian Basin, where the company is the largest acreage holder. Pioneer Natural Resources Company operates as an independent oil and gas exploration and production company in the United States. The company explores for, develops, and produces oil, natural gas liquids (NGLs), and gas. It has operations in the Permian Basin in West Texas. As of December 31, 2020, the company had proved undeveloped reserves and developed non-producing reserves of 31 million barrels of oil, 17 million barrels of NGLs, and 88 billion cubic feet of gas; and owned interests in 11 gas processing plants. Pioneer Natural Resources Company was founded in 1997 and is headquartered in Irving, Texas.

Maria S. Jelescu Dreyfus became a Director of Pioneer Natural Resources in September 2021. She is the CEO and Founder of Ardinall Investment Management, a New York-based independent investment firm established in 2017. Ardinall has an ESG-based investment approach and focuses on climate change and sustainable investments. Prior to Ardinall Investment Management, Ms. Dreyfus spent 15 years at Goldman Sachs, most recently serving as Portfolio Manager and Managing Director in the Goldman Sachs Investment Partners group, where she focused on energy, industrials, transportation, and infrastructure investments in both public and private markets.

Opinion:  It’s almost comical reading about Maria Dreyfus touting her ESG credentials and her buying $2 million worth of one of the largest oil producers in the Permian.  I’m not a tree-hugging hypocritical environmentalist and I don’t have a problem buying oil and gas stocks.  I wish she had shown up earlier in the year when oil was trading at half the price.  I also believe that buying stocks that have tripled in a year can be hazardous to your financial health. My stance on this group is that the world is moving away from the internal combustion engine and with it gasoline.  It will also take an enormous amount of time and Pioneer will make a ton of money before it’s over but that doesn’t mean investors are going to make any money buying the stock here. The big money has clearly been made on this group already.

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Volas Gerald
Position: CEO Chairman
Transaction Date: 2021-11-9  Shares Bought: 6,000  Average Price Paid: $171.52 Cost: $1,029,108
Company: Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. (SMG)
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company manufactures, markets, and sells consumer lawn and garden products in the United States and internationally. The company operates through three segments: U.S. Consumer, Hawthorne, and Other. It offers lawn care products, such as lawn fertilizers, grass seed products, spreaders, other durable products, and outdoor cleaners, as well as lawn-related weed, pest, and disease control products. The company also provides gardening and landscape products, including water-soluble and continuous-release plant foods, potting mixes and garden soils, mulch and decorative ground cover products, plant-related pest and disease control products, organic garden products, and live goods and seeding solutions. In addition, it offers hydroponic products that help users to grow plants, flowers, and vegetables using little or no soil; lighting systems and components for use in hydroponic and indoor gardening applications; and insect, rodent, and weed control products for home areas. The company offers its products under the Scotts, Turf Builder, EZ Seed, PatchMaster, Thick’R Lawn, GrubEx, EdgeGuard, Handy Green II, Miracle-Gro, LiquaFeed, Osmocote, Shake ‘N Feed, Hyponex, Earthgro, SuperSoil, Fafard, Nature Scapes, Ortho, Miracle-Gro Performance Organics, Miracle-Gro Organic Choice, Whitney Farms, EcoScraps, Mother Earth, Botanicare, Hydroponics, Vermicrop, Gavita, Agrolux, Can-Filters, Sun System, Gro Pro, Hurricane, AeroGarden, Titan, Tomcat, Ortho Weed B Gon, Roundup, Groundclear, and Alchemist brands. It serves home centers, mass merchandisers, warehouse clubs, large hardware chains, independent hardware stores, nurseries, garden centers, e-commerce platforms, and food and drug stores, as well as indoor gardening and hydroponic distributors, retailers, and growers through direct sales force, and network of brokers and distributors. The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company was founded in 1868 and is headquartered in Marysville, Ohio.

Gerald Volas no longer serves as Chief Executive Officer, Director of the Company effective 12/31/2020. Mr. Volas has served as their Chief Executive Officer since June 2015. Mr. Volas was a Group President at Masco Corporation (“Masco”) from 2006 to June 2015 and prior to that, President of Liberty Hardware Mfg. Corp., a Masco operating company, from 2001 to 2005. From 1996 to 2001, he served as a Group Controller supporting a variety of Masco operating companies; and from 1982 to 1996, he served in progressive financial roles including Vice President/Controller at BrassCraft Manufacturing Company, a Masco operating company. Mr. Volas is a Certified Public Accountant. 

Opinion: I kid you not. Scotts Miracle Grow is under pressure because there is a glut in the North American cannabis supply.   While the shelves at your local Target are empty, try out your friendly neighborhood weed dispensary. They have plenty of marijuana for sale. While the bloom is off the rose, the year-long slide in share price is probably over and this is one you can ride with a ho, ho, ho Jolly New Year.

Scotts Miracle grow is blaming its financial woes on a glut of marijuana

.  In their last earnings announcement, they said, “we expect the current over-supply of cannabis to put negative pressure on our growth rate through the rest of the calendar year and into the second quarter, at which point we anticipate a more normal growth rate.” The Company issued guidance for fiscal 2022 based on expected company-wide sales growth of 0 to 3 percent, revenue consensus of $4.74B. It expects U.S. Consumer segment sales to be 0 to minus 4 percent. Hawthorne sales are expected to grow approximately 8 to 12 percent with most of the growth expected in the second half of the year.

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Finviz Chart

Name: Childs John W
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-10  Shares Bought: 5,000 Average Price Paid: $122.87 Cost: $614,342
Company: Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Co Ltd. (BHVN)
Biohaven is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with proven leadership in industry and academic settings. Their portfolio is composed of innovative, late-stage product candidates targeting neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases, including rare disorders. Their progress is fueled by an entrepreneurial organizational structure and an impressive range of experience in drug development along with the confident support of top-tier biopharma investors. Biohaven has combined internal development and research with intellectual property licensed from companies and institutions including Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, AstraZeneca AB, Yale University, Catalent, ALS Biopharma LLC, and Massachusetts General Hospital. Since their initial public offering in 2017, they have made rapid progress with multiple compounds across their CGRP receptor antagonist, a glutamate modulator, and myeloperoxidase (MPO) inhibitor platforms. Nurtec™ ODT (Rimegepant 75 mg) received FDA approval in February 2020 and is quickly gaining traction as the only orally disintegrating CGRP antagonist for acute treatment of migraine. At the same time, Biohaven is advancing novel acute and preventive treatments for migraine with zavegepant and rimegepant. In addition to continued exploration of our CGRP receptor antagonists, multiple clinical trials are ongoing for product candidates across their neuro innovative platforms.

Mr. John W. Childs serves as the Chairman and Partner of J.W. Childs Associates, L.P., a private equity firm. He co-founded J.W. Childs Associates in 1995. Prior to founding J.W. Childs Associates, Mr. Childs was Senior Managing Director of the Thomas H. Lee Company from 1991 to 1995. In this capacity, he had broad responsibilities for originating, analyzing, negotiating, and managing leveraged buyout transactions for the THL funds. For seventeen years prior to joining THL, Mr. Childs was with the Prudential Insurance Company of America where he held various executive positions in the investment area, ultimately serving as Senior Managing Director in charge of the Capital Markets Group. He is currently Chairman of Sunny Delight and a director of Kosta Browne, Esselte, Mattress Firm, WS Packaging, and SIMCOM. Prior to its sale, he was Chairman of the Board of CHG Healthcare Services.

Opinion: It’s been very uneven, you could even say a terrible year for biotech with few exceptions, one of them being Biohaven.  Biohaven has been riding the popularity of its revolutionary drug for migraine, Nurtec ODT.  It’s the only migraine drug approved for not only the treatment but the prevention of this affliction that strikes millions of people. Migraine is the 3rd most prevalent illness in the world.

Most people in the United States with migraine have 1 to 2 migraine attacks per month. Migraine attacks usually last anywhere from 4 hours to 3 days. If each attack only lasts for 1 day or less, that still adds up to about 12 to 24 sick days a year. A person with 3-day migraines would be sick 36 to 72 days a year.

Biohaven fell 16% on Q3 earnings where the company earned an adjusted EPS (#1.91) versus the consensus ($2.40) on revenues of $135.74M versus $128.4M. They inked a deal with Pfizer to sell and distribute Nurtec outside the U.S.  Why that merited a steep stock sell-off is a mystery to me and apparently to director John Childs who made his 4th buy of the year at ever-increasing prices.  Childs is averaging up not down and this is very bullish insider buying. Patient investors would be wise to nibble here too.

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Lewis Ronald J
Position: COO
Transaction Date: 2021-11-09  Shares Bought: 10,000 Average Price Paid: $91.26 Cost: $912,625
Company: BALL Corp. (BLL)
Ball Corporation is an American company headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado. It is best known for its early production of glass jars, lids, and related products used for home canning. Since its founding in Buffalo, New York, in 1880, when it was known as the Wooden Jacket Can Company, the Ball company has expanded and diversified into other business ventures, including aerospace technology. It eventually became the world’s largest manufacturer of recyclable metal beverage and food containers. The Ball brothers renamed their business the Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company, incorporated in 1886. Its headquarters, as well as its glass and metal manufacturing operations, were relocated to Muncie, Indiana, by 1889. The business was renamed the Ball Brothers Company in 1922 and the Ball Corporation in 1969. It became a publicly-traded stock company on the New York Stock Exchange in 1973. The ball left the home canning business in 1993 by spinning off a former subsidiary (Alltrista) into a free-standing company, which renamed itself Jarden Corporation. As part of the spin-off, Jarden is licensed to use the Ball registered trademark on its line of home-canning products. Today, the Ball brand mason jars and home canning supplies belong to Newell Brands.

Ronald James Lewis is on the board of Ball Beverage Packaging UK Ltd., Ball Beverage Packaging Holdings UK Ltd., and Ball Beverage Packaging Europe Ltd., and President-Beverage Packaging at Ball Corp. In the past, Mr. Lewis was Chief Supply Chain Officer at Coca-Cola European Partners Plc President & Chief Executive Officer for Coca-Cola Bottlers Sales & Services Co. LLC and Senior Vice President-Supply Chain at Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. (both are subsidiaries of Coca-Cola European Partners Plc) and Chief Procurement Officer & Vice President at The Coca-Cola Co. and Senior Vice President at Coca-Cola Refreshments, Inc. (a subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Co.).

Opinion: I don’t know why Lewis is spending almost $1M of his own money to buy stock but he is the 9th insider to buy $200k or more of Ball’s stock in the last three months. .  Sometimes it’s just not worth trying to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. I’m buying Ball now and perhaps something will reveal itself why insiders are so into this can company.

  • SpaceX is preparing to further test its Starlink satellite internet in a demonstration for the U.S. Air Force, the company revealed in a request to the Federal Communications Commission.
  • The company disclosed it is working with Ball Aerospace for this test, with the contractor providing antennas necessary to connect to “tactical aircraft.”

 

Finviz Chart

Name: ISTAR Inc
Position: 10% Owner
Transaction Date: 2021-10-10  Shares Bought: 6,707 Average Price Paid: $74.55 Cost: $500,007
Company: Safehold Inc. (SAFE)
Safehold Inc. (NYSE: SAFE) is revolutionizing real estate ownership by providing a new and better way for owners to unlock the value of the land beneath their buildings. Through its modern ground lease capital solution, Safehold helps owners of high-quality multifamily, office, industrial, hospitality and mixed-use properties in major markets throughout the United States generate higher returns with less risk. The Company, which is taxed as a real estate investment trust (REIT) and is managed by its largest shareholder, iStar Inc., seeks to deliver safe, growing income and long-term capital appreciation to its shareholders.

iStar Inc. (NYSE: STAR) is focused on reinventing the ground lease sector, unlocking value for real estate owners throughout the country by providing modern, more efficient ground leases on all types of properties. As the founder, investment manager, and largest shareholder of Safehold Inc. (NYSE: SAFE), the first publicly traded company to focus on modern ground leases, iStar is helping create a logical new approach to the way real estate is owned and continues to use its historic strengths in finance and net lease to expand this unique platform. Recognized as a consistent innovator in the real estate markets, iStar specializes in identifying and scaling newly discovered opportunities and has completed more than $40 billion of transactions over the past two decades. 

Opinion: The last time Star went on a buying binge like this, it ignited a match underneath the stock. Not this time. Different era, different game

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Wilder C John
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-10  Shares Bought: 14,175 Average Price Paid: $64.49 Cost: $914,143

Name: Wilder C John
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-05  Shares Bought: 21,384 Average Price Paid: $64.09 Cost: $1,370,419
Company: Evergy Inc. (EVRG)
Evergy is an American investor-owned utility (IOU) with publicly traded stock headquarters in Topeka, Kansas, and in Kansas City, Missouri. The company was formed from a merger of Westar Energy of Topeka and Great Plains Energy of Kansas City, Missouri, the parent company of Kansas City Power & Light. Evergy is the largest electric company in Kansas, serving more than 1.6 million residential, commercial, and industrial customers in the state’s eastern half. Evergy has a generating capacity of 16,000-megawatt electricity from its over 40 power plants in Kansas and Missouri. Evergy service territory covers 28,130 square miles (72,900 km2) in eastern Kansas and western Missouri. Evergy owns more than 13,700 miles (22,000 km) of transmission lines and about 52,000 miles of distribution lines. Evergy is committed to delivering clean, safe, reliable energy sources today and well into the future. So they’re embracing alternative energy sources to generate more power with less impact on our environment and adopting new technologies that let their customers manage their energy use in ways that work for them. Whether it’s new ways to connect with them, electric vehicle charging stations, or the next innovation around the corner, they’re dedicated to empowering a better future. It generates electricity through coal, hydroelectric, landfill gas, uranium, natural gas, oil sources, and solar, wind, and other renewable sources. The company has approximately 10,100 circuit miles of transmission lines, 39,800 circuit miles of overhead distribution lines, and 13,000 circuit miles of underground distribution lines. It serves approximately 1,620,400 customers, including residences, commercial firms, industrials, municipalities, and other electric utilities.

Mr. Wilder is the Executive Chairman of Bluescape. He serves on the boards of directors of several private portfolio companies and has previously served on the board of many private and public companies, including NRG Energy, Inc. and TXU Corp. He served in executive officer roles in TXU Corp., Entergy Corp., and Royal Dutch/Shell Group. Mr. Wilder received his bachelor of science in business administration from Southeast Missouri State University and holds a master of business administration from the University of Texas.

Opinion: We’ve written multiple times that regulated electric utilities are among the very best businesses in the world to own. First of all, they are regulated monopolies, guaranteed to earn an agreed-upon rate of return on their various ratepayers, commercial, industrial, and residential.  According to Elon Musk, a two-car EV family will cause their electric bill to double.  Throw in a heat pump to wean off Co2 emissions and electric consumption goes up 70% at the average household.

EVG and others are big embraces of renewable energy sources. The Government doesn’t have to push them into being green. They are leading the charge. They would like nothing more than to be a complete monopoly and free themselves from the ups and downs of the fossil fuel industry by building their own solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal sources of renewable “free” monopoly. It seems that they will be getting assistance from a willing government and customer groups as well to transform themselves into the most powerful monopolies since the advent of the tech giants today.

One thought- there is no Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, or Apple without massive electric consumption in hyper-scale server farms.

Oddly enough this group has been one of the worst-performing sectors. For a while, I thought it was fear of rates rising that was holding the sector back but rates haven’t risen.  The Fed is holding rates low and appears to be willing to do so forever based on their dual mandate of full employment and stable prices.  I think this very stable group with average high dividend yields of 3.5% is just not exciting enough for today’s group of investors.  They just don’t get that reality that the stodgy revenue growth of electric utilities is in the rearview mirror.  Let me rephrase the value proposition.  If you had a chance to invest in a group of companies that were on the verge of the fastest and most enduring growth spurt since the discovery of the light bulb, you were getting paid 3.5% dividends on companies that were monopolies, completely immune from any risk of economic upheaval, and were going to grow at minimum 8%-10% annual rates as far as the eye could see- how much of your portfolio would you put there?  Maybe all of it?

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Chapman James R
Position: CFO
Transaction Date: 2021-11-10  Shares Bought: 996  Average Price Paid: $75.28 Cost: $74,998

Name: Blue Robert M
Position: CEO Chairman
Transaction Date: 2021-11-10  Shares Bought: 3,321  Average Price Paid: $75.28 Cost: $249,998
Company: Dominion Energy Inc. (D)
Dominion Energy, Inc. produces and distributes energy. The company operates through four segments: Dominion Energy Virginia, Gas Distribution, Dominion Energy South Carolina, and Contracted Assets. The Dominion Energy Virginia segment generates, transmits, and distributes regulated electricity to residential, commercial, industrial, and governmental customers in Virginia and North Carolina. The Gas Distribution segment engages in the regulated natural gas gathering, transportation, distribution, and sales activities, as well as distributes nonregulated renewable natural gas. This segment serves residential, commercial, and industrial customers. The Dominion Energy South Carolina segment generates, transmits, and distributes electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, and industrial customers in South Carolina. The Contracted Assets segment is involved in the energy marketing and price risk activities. As of December 31, 2020, the company’s portfolio of assets included approximately 30.2 gigawatts of electric generating capacity; 10,500 miles of electric transmission lines; 85,600 miles of electric distribution lines; and 94,200 miles of gas distribution lines. It serves approximately 7 million customers. The company sells electricity at wholesale prices to rural electric cooperatives and municipalities, as well as into wholesale electricity markets. The company was formerly known as Dominion Resources, Inc. and changed its name to Dominion Energy, Inc. in May 2017. Dominion Energy, Inc. was incorporated in 1983 and is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia.

James Chapman is serving as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer at Dominion Energy, Inc Dominion Energy, Inc. is an active company headquartered in Richmond, VA in the states of VA. The Dominion Energy, Inc. office address is located at 120 Tredegar Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, United States. The company comes under the Utility industry.

Robert M. Blue is president and chief executive officer of Dominion Energy. Before becoming CEO in 2020, Blue was Dominion Energy’s executive vice president and co-chief operating officer, and president of Dominion Energy Virginia, the company’s electric utility in Virginia and North Carolina. Blue joined Dominion Energy in 2005 and has served as vice president of state and federal affairs; senior vice president of public policy and corporate communications; senior vice president of regulation, law, energy solutions & policy; and president, Dominion Virginia Power. Dominion received about $1.3 billion in cash in anticipation of selling the interests in the LNG Cove Point terminal and pipelines to Berkshire Hathaway Energy and would transfer about $430 million in debt once completed.  The prior CEO, Farrell said at the time the Company did this to concentrate on its  “regulated” electric utility business.  The new CEO, Blue,  bought $1M worth of stock earlier in the year at $69.44.  We’d back up the truck under $70 and are buyers here as well.

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Stallings Robert W
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-04  Shares Bought: 17,098 Average Price Paid: $61.66 Cost: $1,054,316
Company: Texas Capital Bancshares Inc. (TCBI)
Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for Texas Capital Bank, National Association that provides various banking products and services for commercial businesses, and professionals, and entrepreneurs. It offers business deposit products and services, including commercial checking accounts, lockbox accounts, and cash concentration accounts, as well as other treasury management services, including information services, wire transfer initiation, ACH initiation, account transfer, and service integration; and consumer deposit products, such as checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, and certificates of deposit. The company also provides commercial loans for general corporate purposes comprising financing for working capital, internal growth, and acquisitions, as well as financing for business insurance premiums; real estate term and construction loans; mortgage warehouse lending; mortgage correspondent aggregation; equipment finance and leasing; treasury management services, including online banking and debit and credit card services; escrow services; and letters of credit. In addition, it offers personal wealth management and trust services; secured and unsecured loans; and online and mobile banking services. Further, the company provides American Airlines AAdvantage, an all-digital branch offering depositors. It operates in Austin, Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, and the San Antonio metropolitan areas of Texas. Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas.

Robert W. Stallings has served as a director since August 2001. He has also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Stallings Capital Group, an investment company, since March 2001. From 1991 to 2001, Mr. Stallings served as Chief Executive Officer of Pilgrim Capital Group, an investment company. He is currently Executive Chairman of the Board of GAINSCO, Inc.

Opinion: Cluster insider buying is a good thing and we bought into this underperforming regional bank.  TCBI is underperforming its peers as seen in the chart below. There is no reason to as the Texas economy is one of the best in the nation.

Finviz Chart

Name: Hamm Harold
Position: Director 10% Owner
Transaction Date: 2021-11-09 Shares Bought: 108,500 Average Price Paid: $47.69 Cost: $5,174,415
Company: Continental Resources Inc. (CLR)
Continental Resources (NYSE: CLR) is a Top 10 independent oil producer in the U.S. Lower 48 and a leader in America’s energy renaissance. Based in Oklahoma City, Continental is the largest leaseholder and one of the largest producers in the nation’s premier oil field, the Bakken of North Dakota and Montana. The Company also has leading positions in Oklahoma, including its SCOOP Woodford and SCOOP Springer discoveries and the STACK and Northwest Cana plays. With a focus on the exploration and production of oil, Continental has unlocked the technology and resources vital to American energy independence and our nation’s leadership in the new world oil market. Continental Resources, Inc. explores for, develops, and produces crude oil and natural gas primarily in the north, south, and east regions of the United States. The company sells its crude oil and natural gas production to energy marketing companies, crude oil refining companies, and natural gas gathering and processing companies. As of December 31, 2020, its proved reserves were 1,104 million barrels of crude oil equivalent (MMBoe) with proved developed reserves of 627 MMBoe.

Growing up in rural Oklahoma, Mr. Hamm went to work in the oil fields as a teenager and established Continental Resources in 1967 at the age of 21. He built a grassroots startup into an NYSE-traded, Top 10 oil producer in the U.S. Lower 48. As a voice for America’s oil and natural gas industry and as the leader of one of America’s top E&P companies, he has helped to make America energy independent. Mr.Hamm also co-founded and serves as Chairman of the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance, which aims to preserve the millions of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity and tax revenues generated by onshore drilling and production activities within the United States. Through his work with DEPA, Mr. Hamm is widely recognized as the man who led the charge to lift America’s 40-year-old ban on U.S. crude oil exports.

Opinion: I’ve been warning about this situation.  Hamm is a figurehead for the wildcatter in today’s modern oil industry. He was the first to open up the Baaken oil fields and made himself a billionaire for it.  He is the American self-made legend, even writing at the time at a $1 Billion dollar divorce check, the largest up until then.  Hamm almost never sells his company’s stock and is always buying it.  Where does he get the money?  Investors should be asking this question but they are not. It seems I am the only one pointing out the potential comparison to the ill-fated founder of Chesapeake Energy, Aubrey McClendon.

Finviz Chart

Name: Papanier George T
Position: President
Transaction Date: 2021-11-05 Shares Bought: 2,250 Average Price Paid: $45.21 Cost: $101,723

Name: Reeves Robeson
Position: President
Transaction Date: 2021-11-05 Shares Bought: 5,750 Average Price Paid: $45.00 Cost: $258,750

Name: Fenton Lee
Position: CEO
Transaction Date: 2021-11-05 Shares Bought: 5,750 Average Price Paid: $44.99 Cost: $258,693

Name: Capp Stephen H
Position: CFO
Transaction Date: 2021-11-05 Shares Bought: 5,500 Average Price Paid: $44.82 Cost: $246,510

Company: Bally’s Corp. (BALY)
Bally’s Corporation owns and operates gaming and racing facilities in the United States. Its gaming and racing facilities include slot machines and various casino table games, and restaurant and hotel facilities. The company owns and manages Twin River Casino Hotel in Lincoln, Rhode Island; Tiverton Casino Hotel in Tiverton, Rhode Island; Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi; Casino Vicksburg in Vicksburg, Mississippi; Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware; Casino KC in Kansas City, Missouri; Golden Gates, Golden Gulch, and Mardi Gras casinos in Black Hawk, Colorado; Bally’s Atlantic City, Atlantic City, New Jersey; Eldorado Resort Casino Shreveport, Shreveport, Los Angeles; and Arapahoe Park racetrack and 13 off-track betting licenses in Aurora, Colorado. As of April 13, 2021, it owned and operated 12 casinos that comprise 13,308 slot machines, 460 game tables, and 3,342 hotel rooms, as well as a horse racetrack across eight states. The company was formerly known as Twin River Worldwide Holdings, Inc. and changed its name to Bally’s Corporation in November 2020. Bally’s Corporation was founded in 2004 and is incorporated in Providence, Rhode Island.

George Papanier became President Retail, Bally’s land-based casino business, on October 1, 2021. His association with Bally’s began in 2004 when he served as the Chief Operating Officer, an appointment he held until February 2011. He was then appointed to the role of President and CEO of Bally’s. Before joining Bally’s, Mr. Papanier served in the same capacity for Peninsula Gaming with properties in Iowa and Louisiana, from 2000-2004, and as COO for Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey from 1997 – 2000. Both positions involved strategic and tactical planning for the resorts and supervision of major renovation and construction projects. He was also active in evaluating potential acquisitions and the development of projects for the two organizations.

Robeson Reeves became President of the Bally Interactive Division on October 1, 2021. Formerly, he served as the Chief Operating Officer of Gamesys since July 2015. Mr. Reeves joined Gamesys in September 2005 and held a number of positions, most recently Director of Gaming Operations since May 2010 and served as a member of the Gamesys Board of Directors since August 2010. Since joining Gamesys, Mr. Reeves has built a strong record in cohesively connecting player and product experiences to marketing and business KPIs, ensuring sustainable growth.

Lee Fenton became Chief Executive Officer of Bally’s Corporation on October 1, 2021. He was formerly Chief Executive Officer of Gamesys since July 2015. He initially joined Gamesys in November 2008 as Chief Operating Officer. Before joining Gamesys, he was Chief Operating Officer of the mobile division at 20th Century Fox and Global Director of Consumer Products & Content at Vodafone Group plc. He brings deep experience in working with global brands and managing operations across multiple markets. 

Mr. Capp joined Bally’s Corporation as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in January 2019.  He previously served as a member of the Bally’s board of directors from 2012 through 2018 and was a member of the audit and compensation committees.  From 2003 to 2011, Mr. Capp served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Pinnacle Entertainment, a then-public casino gaming and hospitality company based in Las Vegas. Before working at Pinnacle Entertainment, Mr. Capp was a Managing Director at Bear Stearns in New York from 1997 to 2003, specializing in leveraged finance. Before that was a Managing Director at BancAmerica Securities in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Opinion: Legalized online sports betting is a game-changer.  It may also be a precursor to the liberalization of rules regarding all kinds of online gambling. We provided an adroit analysis of this many months ago saying Draft Kings had a tough competitive environment. I’d rather play an omnichannel gaming company like Bally.  We are currently short some Draft King and will likely buy some Bally’s in the coming days. Mind you these are not large buys so don’t go overboard here.

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Brown Jeffrey J
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-08  Shares Bought: 24,330 Average Price Paid: $43.97 Cost: $1,069,790

Name: Hetrick Christopher B
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-08  Shares Bought: 15,000 Average Price Paid: $44.50 Cost: $667,500
Company: Rent A Center Inc De. (RCII)
Rent-A-Center, Inc. and its subsidiaries lease durable household goods to customers on a lease-to-own basis. The company operates in four segments: Rent-A-Center Business, Preferred Lease, Mexico, and Franchising. It offers furniture and accessories, appliances, consumer electronics, computers, tablets and smartphones, tools, tires, handbags, and other accessories under rental purchase agreements. The company also provides merchandise on an installment sales basis; and the lease-to-own transaction to consumers who do not qualify for financing from the traditional retailer through kiosks located within the retailer’s locations. It operates retail installment sales stores under the Get It Now and Home Choice names; lease-to-own and franchised lease-to-own stores under the Rent-A-Centre, ColorTyme, and RimTyme names; and rentacenter.com, an e-commerce platform. As of December 31, 2020, the company owned and operated approximately 1,845 stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, including 44 retail installment sales stores; 45 preferred lease staffed locations in North Carolina; and 121 stores in Mexico, as well as franchised 462 lease-to-own stores in 33 states. Rent-A-Center, Inc. was founded in 1960 and is headquartered in Plano, Texas.

Jeffrey J. Brown is the Chief Executive Officer and founding member of Brown Equity Partners, LLC, which provides capital to management teams and companies needing equity. Mr. Brown’s venture capital and private equity career span 30 years, including positions with Hughes Aircraft Company, Morgan Stanley & Company, Security Pacific Capital Corporation, and Bank of America Corporation. Since June 2015, Mr. Brown has served as the Lead Director of Medifast, Inc., where he also serves as a member of each of the Audit and Mergers & Acquisitions Committees. Mr. Brown also serves as a director of Fieldstone Homes. Mr. Brown previously served as a director of Outerwall Inc., Midatech Pharma PLC, and Nordion, Inc.

Christopher B. Hetrick has been the Director of Research at Engaged Capital, a California-based investment firm and registered advisor with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission focused on investing in small and mid-cap North American equities since September 2012. Before joining Engaged Capital, Mr. Hetrick worked at Relational Investors LLC (“Relational”), a $6 billion activist equity fund, from January 2002 to August 2012. Mr. Hetrick began his career with Relational as an associate analyst. He eventually became the firm’s senior consumer analyst overseeing over $1 billion in consumer sector investments. Before heading up the consumer research team, Mr. Hetrick was a generalist covering major investments in the technology, financial, automotive, and food sectors.

Opinion: Rent to own has never been a good business as the collateral is for “shxt” and the creditworthiness of the customer, terrible. Add a 38  state attorney general investigation into your business practices and you can see why RCII is trading at just 9x forward PE. That’s just two cheap for Directors Brown and Hetrick to pass up.

Finviz Chart

Name: Pasquesi John M
Position: Chairman
Transaction Date: 2021-11-11 Shares Bought: 484,544 Average Price Paid: $41.23 Cost: $19,980,026
Company: Arch Capital Group Ltd. (ACGL)
Arch Capital Group Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, provides insurance, reinsurance, and mortgage insurance products worldwide. The company’s Insurance segment offers primary and excess casualty coverages; loss-sensitive primary casualty insurance programs; collateral protection, debt cancellation, and service contract reimbursement products; directors’ and officers’ liability, errors and omissions liability, employment practices and fiduciary liability, crime, professional indemnity, and other financial related coverages; medical professional and general liability insurance coverages; and workers’ compensation and umbrella liability, as well as a commercial automobile, and inland marine products. It also provides property, energy, marine, and aviation insurance; travel insurance; accident, disability, and medical plan insurance coverages; captive insurance programs; employer’s liability; and contract and commercial surety coverages. This segment markets its products through a group of licensed independent retail and wholesale brokers. Its Reinsurance segment provides reinsurance for third party liability and workers’ compensation exposures; marine and aviation reinsurance; surety, accident and health, workers’ compensation catastrophe, agriculture, trade credit, and political risk products; reinsurance protection for catastrophic losses, and personal lines and commercial property exposures; life reinsurance; casualty clash; and risk management solutions. This segment markets its reinsurance products through brokers. The company’s Mortgage segment offers direct mortgage insurance and mortgage reinsurance. The company was founded in 1995 and is based in Pembroke, Bermuda.

John M. Pasquesi is the Lead Independent Director of the Company. He has been Chairman of the Board of Arch Capital since September 2019. From November 3, 2017, to September 14, 2019, he served as Lead Director. Mr. Pasquesi is the Managing Member of Otter Capital LLC, a private equity investment firm he founded in January 2001. He holds an A.B. from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Opinion: It’s been a bad year for reinsurance. Just ask Warren Buffet. Evidently, Pasquesi thinks it will get better.  So do the folks at Rennaissance RE who were buyers of their stock last week.  Insiders buying in a depressed sector are very bullish for a turnaround. I would bet your homeowner’s insurance bill is going up substantially.  Climate change is not cheap.

 

Name: Bakish Robert M
Position: CEO
Transaction Date: 2021-11-0  Shares Bought: 14,000 Average Price Paid: $35.92 Cost: $502,872

Name: Redstone Shari
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-0  Shares Bought: 27,525 Average Price Paid: $36.30 Cost: $999,064
Company: ViacomCBS Inc. (VIACA)
ViacomCBS Inc. operates as a media and entertainment company worldwide. The company operates through TV Entertainment, Cable Networks, and Filmed Entertainment segments. The TV Entertainment segment distributes a schedule of news and public affairs broadcasts, and sports and entertainment programming; acquires or develops, and schedules programming on the CBS Television Network that includes primetime comedies and dramas, reality, specials, kids’ programs, daytime dramas, game shows, and late-night programs; produces or distributes talk shows, court shows, game shows, and newsmagazines; owns and operates 29 broadcast television stations; and operates CBS Sports Network, a 24/7 cable program service that provides college sports and related content, as well as streaming and cable subscription services. The Cable Networks segment creates and acquires programming for distribution and viewing on various media platforms, including subscription cable networks, subscription streaming, and basic cable networks. The Filmed Entertainment segment develops, produces, finances acquires, and distributes films. The company was formerly known as CBS Corporation and changed its name to ViacomCBS Inc. in December 2019. ViacomCBS Inc. was incorporated in 1986 and is headquartered in New York, New York.

Robert M. Bakish is President and Chief Executive Officer of ViacomCBS.  Bakish oversees one of the world’s leading media and entertainment content producers, driven by a global portfolio of powerful consumer brands, including CBS, Showtime Networks, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central BET, Paramount+, Pluto TV, and Simon & Schuster, among others. In this role, which he assumed in December 2019, Bakish is responsible for growing the company’s creative assets and capabilities to serve important and diverse audiences in more than 180 countries. Before the recombination of Viacom and CBS, Bakish was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Viacom since December 2016. He led Viacom’s core businesses to revitalize and evolve, return the company to grow, and extend its leadership across multi-platform entertainment content, next-generation distribution, and advertising.

Shari Redstone is a media executive with wide-ranging experience in the entertainment industry and related ventures. She is the Non-Executive Chair of ViacomCBS’s Board of Directors, having previously served as Vice-Chair of the Boards of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corporation prior to the combination of the companies in 2019. Ms. Redstone is Chairperson, CEO, and President of National Amusements, a world leader in the motion picture exhibition industry. She is also Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Advancit Capital, an investment firm launched in 2011 that focuses on early-stage companies at the intersection of media, entertainment, and technology. Ms. Redstone serves on the Board of Trustees for the Paley Center for Media and is actively involved in charitable, civic, and educational organizations. She is a member of the Board of Trustees at Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Opinion: ViacomCBS is a cheap stock. Maybe one of the tech giants has eyes on it. I don’t know who would be allowed to buy it though as the consolidation merger mania with tech is severely restrained in this climate. Maybe Apple wants it? Maybe Comcast?  Maybe long-time shareholder Mario Gabelli will buy it? Perhaps the sum of the parts are worth more than the whole? In January 2021 Gabelli analyst John Tinker named ViacomCBS as his best idea for 2021. The issues of shrinking carriage and a higher NFL bill are well known and reflected in the stock price, while the company’s “focused leadership” should either grow the company or sell. it to a larger streaming entity, argues Tinker. He has a 2022 private market value estimate of $54 per share for ViacomCBS.

I think something is up. Watch this one carefully. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure or in this case one woman, Sherri Redstone.

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Malafronte Michael W
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-08  Shares Bought: 21,500 Average Price Paid: $32.99 Cost: $709,285
Company: Adtalem Global Education Inc. (ATGE)
Adtalem Global Education Inc. is an American corporation that operates several for-profit higher education institutions, including American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, Chamberlain University, EduPristine, OnCourse Learning, Ross University School of Medicine, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, and Walden University. Adtalem Global Education Inc. provides workforce solutions worldwide. It operates through two segments, Medical and Healthcare; and Financial Services. The Medical and Healthcare segment offers degree and non-degree programs in the medical and healthcare postsecondary education industry. This segment operates Chamberlain University, American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, Ross University School of Medicine, and Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. The Financial Services segment provides test preparation, certifications, conferences, seminars, memberships, and subscriptions to business professionals in the areas of accounting, anti-money laundering, banking, and mortgage lending. It operates the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, Becker Professional Education, OnCourse Learning, and EduPristine. The company was formerly known as DeVry Education Group Inc. and changed its name to Adtalem Global Education Inc. in May 2017. Adtalem Global Education Inc. was incorporated in 1987 and is based in Chicago, Illinois.

Mr. Malafronte is a founding partner of International Value Advisers, LLC (IVA) where he serves as managing partner and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of IVA, including developing company strategy and managing resources. Prior to IVA, Mr. Malafronte was a senior vice president at Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder Advisers, LLC where he worked for two years as a senior analyst for the First Eagle Funds. Prior to the First Eagle Funds, Mr. Malafronte was a portfolio manager at Oppenheimer & Close, where he assisted in the launch of a domestic hedge fund and offshore partnership and was responsible for all facets of portfolio management for the investment partnerships, including idea generation, in-depth research and stock selection. Mr. Malafronte currently serves as a director of IVA Fiduciary Trust.

Opinion: Is Malafronte throwing good money after bad? This is his second buy this year. He seems to be getting more confidence in it too. His first buy in August was 9000 shares at $35.99. This purchase is for twice the dollar amount at $32.99 per share. It’s unclear what workforce educational spending will get into Biden’s $1.7 trillion dollar social agenda to be voted on. It’s not even clear if there will be a bill to vote on.  We are taking a pass here.

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Gibson Gregory C
Position: VP
Transaction Date: 2021-11-11 Shares Bought: 18,800 Average Price Paid: $30.54 Cost: $574,152
Name: Sims John V
Position: CFO
Transaction Date: 2021-11-11 Shares Bought: 21,200 Average Price Paid: $30.46 Cost: $645,752

Company: Sylvamo Corp. (SLVM)
Sylvamo Corporation produces and supplies printing paper in Latin America, Europe, and North America. The company offers uncoated freesheets for paper products, such as cut size and offset paper; and markets pulp, aseptic, and liquid packaging board, as well as coated unbleached kraft papers. It also produces hardwood pulp, including bleached hardwood kraft and bleached eucalyptus kraft; bleached softwood kraft; and bleached chemical-thermomechanical pulp. The company distributes its products through a variety of channels, including merchants and distributors, office product suppliers, retailers, and dealers. It also sells directly to converters that produce envelopes, forms, and other related products. The company was founded in 1898 and is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. They believe in the promise of paper to educate, communicate and entertain. Paper connects them to one another and is an enduring bond to renewable natural resources. Their purpose is to produce the paper you need in the most responsible and sustainable way possible. They aim high, innovate and create value for their customers and investors. The future of paper deserves a company committed to the success of the entire ecosystem. From the forests they love, to the communities where they live, to those who rely on their paper, they know the well-being of each depends on the well-being of all. They are Sylvamo, built to help the world realize the promise of paper.

A part of the paper and packaging industry since 1982, Greg Gibson joined International Paper in 2000 through the company’s merger with Champion International. He has served as vice president and general manager for multiple International Paper commercial divisions, including Commercial Printing and Imaging papers, European Papers, European Packaging, and North American Papers. Greg served on numerous boards including the American Forest & Paper Association, Confederation of European Paper Industries, and United Way of the Mid-South. 

John Sims joined International Paper in 1994, after serving as an officer in the United States Navy. Throughout his 27-year career with the company, he gained extensive experience in the Printing Papers and Packaging businesses while most recently serving as senior vice president, Corporate Development. John has served on the board of directors of The Ilim Group. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Michigan.

Opinion: Sylvamo (NYSE: SLVM), is a spinoff of International Paper’s (NYSE: IP) global papers business. Two insiders loaded up on shares when it sank post-spin-off.  Investment legend Peter Lynch liked spin-offs.  Paper though is on the way to becoming a quant obsolete product.

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Luczo Stephen J
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-08  Shares Bought: 100,000 Average Price Paid: $25.04 Cost:$2,504,000
Company: AT&T Inc. (T)
AT&T Inc. provides telecommunication, media, and technology services worldwide. The company operates through Communications, WarnerMedia, and Latin America segments. The Communications segment offers wireless voice and data communications services; video and targeted advertising services; broadband, including fiber, and legacy telephony internet and voice communication; and wireline telecom services. It also sells handsets, wirelessly enabled computers, wireless data cards, and IP-based set-top boxes, as well as various accessories, such as carrying cases and hands-free devices through the company-owned stores, agents, and third-party retail stores. This segment markets its communications services and products under the AT&T, Cricket, AT&T PREPAIDSM, AT&T TV, AT&T Fiber, and DIRECTV brand names. The WarnerMedia segment primarily produces, distributes, and licenses television programming and feature films; distributes home entertainment products in physical and digital formats, and produces and distributes mobile and console games, and consumer products, as well as offers, brand licensing services, and advertising services. It also operates cable networks; video-on-demand streaming platforms under the HBO Max and HBO GO names; multichannel pay television services under HBO and Cinemax; and digital media properties, as well as licenses its content to television networks and over-the-top services. The Latin America segment offers video entertainment and audio programming services under the DIRECTV and SKY brands primarily to residential customers; pay-TV services, including HD sports video content; and postpaid and prepaid wireless services under the AT&T and Unefon brands, as well as sells various handsets through company-owned stores, agents, and third-party retail stores. The company was formerly known as SBC Communications Inc. and changed its name to AT&T Inc. in November 2005. AT&T Inc. was incorporated in 1983 and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas.

Stephen Luczo, Director of the company, Stephen Luczo has served as Seagate Technology’s Chairman of the Board since 2002. From October 2017 to October 2018, he also served as Executive Chairman. Before that, he served two tenures as the company’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman. Luczo joined Seagate in 1993 as SVP of corporate development and following a series of promotions became president and COO, CEO, and chairman. In 2004 he resigned as CEO but retained his position as chairman. After working as a private investor from 2006-2009, he rejoined Seagate as president and CEO. He currently is chairman of the board.

Opinion: I used to think Luczo was a smart guy but I’m wondering.  The last purchase he made of AT&T was in May for 100,000 shares at $29.80. He looks like he is dollar averaging down.

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Rothman James
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-08  Shares Bought: 4,000 Average Price Paid: $24.35 Cost: $97,400

Name: Lucier Gregory T
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-05  Shares Bought: 20,704 Average Price Paid: $24.15 Cost: $500,008
Company: Berkeley Lights Inc. (BLI)
Berkeley Lights is a leading Digital Cell Biology company focused on enabling and accelerating the rapid development and commercialization of biotherapeutics and other cell-based products for our customers. The Berkeley Lights Platform captures deep phenotypic, functional, and genotypic information for thousands of single cells in parallel and can also deliver the live biology customers desire in the form of the best cells. Their platform is a fully integrated, end-to-end solution, comprising proprietary consumables, including their OptoSelect chips and reagent kits, advanced automation systems, and application software. They developed the Berkeley Lights Platform to provide the most advanced environment for rapid functional characterization of single cells at scale, the goal of which is to establish an industry standard for their customers throughout their cell-based product value chain. Their mission is to accelerate the use of cell-based products by providing researchers access to the Berkeley Lights Platform to find the best cells in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods.

Gregory T. Lucier is Director at Berkeley Lights Inc., Inc. Mr. Lucier has over 25 years of experience in developing and growing innovation-driven companies into market leaders, with expertise in contemporary corporate governance matters and executive management. “Mr. Lucier brings substantial experience working with innovative companies in healthcare and technology,” said Michael Marks, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Berkeley Lights. “His extensive leadership skills and forward-thinking, strategic approach to growing companies will provide valuable guidance for Berkeley Lights as we enter new markets and expand the use of our platform globally.

James E. Rothman founded ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Dr. Rothman is Senior Advisor at Arsenal Capital Management LP. He is also on the board of TractManager, Inc., Berkeley Lights, Inc. and WCG Clinical, Inc., and Professor & Director-Nanobiology Institute at Yale School of Medicine. James E. Rothman previously was Advisor at Johnson & Johnson, Consultant at Eli Lilly & Co., Consultant at GlaxoSmithKline (New Jersey), Strategic Advisor at The Courtagen Group LLC, Chief Scientist at General Electric Healthcare Technologies, Inc., Consultant at Genentech, Inc., Advisor at Amersham Plc, Professor & Director-Sulzberger Genome at The Trustees of Columbia University in The City of New York, Professor at Stanford University, Professor at Princeton University and Vice Chairman & Chairman-Cellular Biochemistry at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Opinion: Berkley LIghts is an ARKK holding. Like many of Cathie Wood’s stock picks, they are all on the come. In the case of Berkley LIghts- there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of revenues to validate the science yet.  BLI was the subject of a 158 page short-seller report released by Scorpion Capital in September in which the hedge fund called it a “raging dumpster fire” with a zero price target. The Company responded with a rebuttal that basically said the report was laced with falsehoods, errors, and omissions.

Money speaks louder than words and two insider buys after this report would normally restore some confidence. Unfortunately, that is against a backdrop of persistent insider selling. What really restores confidence is sales from big-name customers that you assume have done the due diligence. According to the Company, GSK also purchased its third Beacon during the quarter, moving upstream in the value chain by adding Beacon Antibody Discovery workflow capabilities to their antibody therapeutic development and manufacturing capability. Year-to-date, they claim to  have signed two significant partnerships with industry-leading participants, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Bayer Crop Sciences. Together, these segments carry a potential contract value of more than $30 million. To date, they have recognized approximately $6 million of the $30 million in backlog, including $2.7 million in Q3.

Scorpion in their report states

  • “Revenues are basically flat over the last 4 quarters – a striking fact for a ‘growth’ stock; losses have doubled and are accelerating; gross and operating margins have tanked, falling sequentially in each period; the CFO and Chief Accounting Officer just fled; and accounts receivable have spiked despite flattening sales – typically an ominous sign that the final meltdown is near,” the report says.

I don’t know how accurate the Scorpion report can be as in the three months ended September 30, 2021, revenues increased to $24.3 million, up 34% year-over-year and 26% sequentially. Revenue was $16.7 million coming from product revenues and $7.6 million from service revenues. Revenue for the three months ended June 30, 2021, increased 82% year over year to $19.3 million with $13 million coming from product revenue and $6.3 million from service revenue.

Regardless, this one has too much hair on it for us to justify a $1.7B market cap in a yet-to-be profitable business.

 

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Pittman Robert W
Position: CEO
Transaction Date: 2021-11-09  Shares Bought: 24,150 Average Price Paid: $20.77 Cost: $501,680
Company: iHeartMedia Inc. (IHRT)
iHeartMedia, Inc. operates as a media and entertainment company worldwide. It operates through two segments, Audio and Audio & Media Services. The Audio segment offers broadcast radio, digital, mobile, podcasts, social, program syndication, traffic, weather, news, and sports data distribution, and on-demand entertainment, as well as live events, including mobile platforms and products; and operates Premiere Networks, a national radio network that produces, distributes, or represents approximately 120 syndicated radio programs and services to approximately 6,500 radio station affiliates. It also delivers real-time traffic and incident information, weather updates, sports, and news through approximately 2,100 radio stations and 170 television affiliates, and Internet and mobile partnerships. As of December 31, 2020, this segment owned 858 radio stations, including 244 AM and 614 FM radio stations. The Audio and Media Services segment engages in the media representation business. This segment also provides broadcast and webcast software, such as radio station automation, music scheduling, HD2 solutions, newsroom software, audio logging and archiving single station automation, and contest tracking software; and real-time audio recognition technology to approximately 9,000 radio stations, television music channels, cable companies, satellite music networks, and Internet stations. The company was formerly known as CC Media Holdings, Inc. and changed its name to iHeartMedia, Inc. in September 2014. iHeartMedia, Inc. is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas.

Robert W. Pittman serves as Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer of the Company. Mr. Pittman served as Chairman of Media and Entertainment Platforms for iHeartMedia and iHeartCommunications since November 2010. He has been a member of and an investor in Pilot Group, a private equity investment company, since April 2003. Mr. Pittman was formerly Chief Operating Officer of AOL Time Warner, Inc. Mr. Pittman serves on the boards of numerous charitable organizations, including the Alliance for Lupus Research, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, and the Robin Hood Foundation, where he has served as past Chairman. Mr. Pittman was selected to serve as a member of their Board because he served as their Chief Executive Officer, and his extensive media experience was gained through the course of his career.

Opinion: Local radio has a place. It won’t’ go to zero but it’s hard to say if it can compete with the likes of Spotify, Apple, and others in this changing landscape. I’ll watch Mr. Pittman from the sidelines

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Arnal Gustavot
Position: CFO
Transaction Date: 021-11-04  Shares Bought: 12,500 Average Price Paid: $20.44 Cost: $255,550

Name: Edelman Harriet
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 021-11-04  Shares Bought: 12,500 Average Price Paid: $19.90 Cost: $248,750

Name: Fleming John E
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 021-11-04 Shares Bought: 10,000 Average Price Paid: $19.28 Cost: $192,800

Name: Fleming John E
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 021-11-05  Shares Bought: 15,000 Average Price Paid: $19.00 Cost: $285,000
Company: Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY)
Bed Bath & Beyond’s culture is customer-centric. Their commitment to customer service is supported by significant investments made to strengthen its foundation for future growth. Today, their eCommerce businesses are rapidly growing to meet their customer’s ever-evolving needs. They strive to better engage with their customers wherever, and however, they express their life interests and travel through their life stages. They also recognize that they are people-powered and continuously strive to foster a culture that supports diversity and equity of all types. They are listening and constantly evolving, with concrete goals to create an ever more equitable, inclusive work environment where all their people feel at home and thrive. Bed Bath & Beyond’s family of companies has contributed to their evolution. As they continue to expand, differentiating themselves across all channels, brands, and locations in which they operate, they can better serve their customers. Today, their 40,000+ associates support over 1000+ retail locations, “Business-to-Business” operations, and online destinations for products, solutions, and services. They currently operate in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates a chain of retail stores. It operates through two segments, North American Retail and Institutional Sales. The company sells a range of domestic merchandise, including bed linens and related items, bath items, and kitchen textiles; and home furnishings, such as kitchen and tabletop items, fine tabletop, basic housewares, general home furnishings, consumables, and various juvenile products. As of February 27, 2021, the company had 1,020 stores, including 834 Bed Bath & Beyond stores in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Canada; 132 buy BABY stores; and 54 stores under the names Harmon, Harmon Face Values or Face Values. It also offers products through various Websites and applications.

Mr. Arnal joins the Company from Avon, a leading direct-selling beauty company where he helped lead a successful business turnaround effort. Prior to Avon, Mr. Arnal was CFO, International Divisions and Global Functions at Walgreens Boots Alliance. He is a global leader, with experience leading teams across the US, EMEA, APAC, and LATAM, and has previously served in senior positions at Procter & Gamble, including CFO of India, the Middle East and Africa, CFO Global Fabric, and Home Care, and CFO Global Personal Beauty.

Ms. Edelman, 63, is an accomplished senior executive with over 30 years of global operating experience in consumer goods and financial services. Harriet has served on large public company boards for nearly 20 years in the U.S. and Europe. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Assurant, Inc. and Brinker International, Inc. Harriet is currently Special Advisor to the Chairman of Emigrant Bank, and previously spent over 25 years at Avon Products, Inc. until 2008, rising to senior leadership positions in Marketing, Sales, New Product Development, Business Strategy and Transformation, Global Supply Chain and Information Technology.

John E. Fleming, 60, is currently serving as Interim Chief Executive Officer of r21Holdings, Inc., a specialty retailer of young men and women’s casual apparel and accessories, where he has served as a member of its Board of Directors since August 2017. He has served as a member of the Advisory Board of UNTUCKit LLC, a casual men’s apparel company, since December 2017, and as a member of the Board of Directors of The Visual Comfort Group, a lighting company that serves both wholesale and direct to consumer channels, since May 2017. Additionally, Mr. Fleming has served as an independent director and advisor since August 2016. Previously, Mr. Fleming was the Chief Executive Officer of Global eCommerce at Uniqlo Co. Ltd., a Japanese casual wear designer, manufacturer, and retailer, from October 2013 to August 2016. Prior to that, he was at Walmart, Inc. (“Walmart”), a multinational retail corporation, from 2000 to 2010.

Opinion: Bed Bath Beyond had a positively disastrous 3rd quarter and on 9/30/21 lost nearly half of it stock value. I know because I was a bagholder then based on Director Harriet Edelman’s open market purchase of 11,000 shares for $27.47 on 7-19-21. I just assumed she had some idea of the business but I assumed wrong.  The quarter was so bad that at least two firms, Morgan Stanley and BofA moved it to “underweight, underperform” which is double-speak for a sell with a target of $12 and $14.

Then on November 1st BBBY struck back at the short sellers and said they were going to complete their $1B share repurchase before the end of the year and announced some vague pop-up store deal with Krogers beginning in 2022.  The stock skyrocketed catching the short sellers with a strong left jab to the nose. We got some of our losses back by shorting this bounce. Meanwhile, a throng of insiders decided it was a good time to buy their stock showing some confidence rather than risk testing the job market for Bed Bath and Beyond executives.  Whether that is a selfish move or a correct corporate marketing move remains to be seen but I’m out of this dog with fleas. Short-seller Citron Research now turned bullish analysts said BBBY was worth $5–$70 per share.  I’ve always thought BBBY was a nice place to shop but I can’t understand how this management can’t do better than they are in their multi-channel strategy with the biggest housing boom in modern history.

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Long David C
Position: CFO
Transaction Date: 2021-11-09  Shares Bought: 9,000 Average Price Paid: $16.25 Cost: $146,250
Company: Sprague Resources LP. (SRLP)
Sprague Resources LP engages in the purchase, storage, distribution, and sale of refined petroleum products and natural gas in the United States and Canada. The company operates through four segments: Refined Products, Natural Gas, Materials Handling, and Other Operations. The Refined Products segment purchases and sells various refined products, such as heating oil, diesel fuel, residual fuel oil, kerosene, jet fuel, gasoline, and asphalt to wholesale, retail, and commercial customers. This segment’s wholesale customers consist of approximately 1,100 home heating oil retailers, and diesel fuel and gasoline resellers; and commercial customers include federal and state agencies, municipalities, regional transit authorities, drill sites, large industrial companies, real estate management companies, hospitals, educational institutions, and asphalt paving companies. The Natural Gas segment purchases natural gas from natural gas producers and trading companies and sells and distributes natural gas to approximately 15,000 commercial and industrial customer locations across 13 states in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic United States. The Materials Handling segment offloads, stores, and prepares for the delivery of various customer-owned products, including asphalt, crude oil, clay slurry, salt, gypsum, residual fuel oil, coal, petroleum coke, caustic soda, tallow, pulp, and heavy equipment. The Other Operations segment engages in coal marketing and distribution; and commercial trucking activities. As of December 31, 2020, the company had a combined storage capacity of 14.6 million barrels for refined products and other liquid materials, as well as 2.0 million square feet of materials handling capacity. Sprague Resources LP was founded in 1870 and is headquartered in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. As of May 28, 2021, Sprague Resources LP operates as a subsidiary of Hartree Partners, LP.

David C. Long serves as Chief Financial Officer of Sprague Resources GP LLC of the Company. Mr. Long served as Senior Vice President with Kinetico Incorporated, a subsidiary of Axel Johnson, Inc., during which he was responsible for marketing, sales, and business development activity in North America. From February 2008 through June 2013, Mr. Long served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Kinetico Incorporated where he led the finance and accounting organization. From 1998 through 2008, Mr. Long held a variety of roles with our Predecessor, most recently as Managing Director of Sales, Refined Products. Mr. Long holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine and a Master’s of Finance degree from Boston College.

Opinion:

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Crawford Gordon
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-09 Shares Bought: 100,000 Average Price Paid: $15.71 Cost: $1,570,500
Company: Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF.B)
Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation, doing business as Lionsgate, is an American-Canadian entertainment company. It was formed by Frank Giustra on July 10, 1997, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and is currently headquartered in Santa Monica, California, United States. In addition to its flagship Lionsgate Films division, the company contains other divisions such as Lionsgate Television and Lionsgate Interactive. It owns a variety of subsidiaries such as Summit Entertainment, Debmar-Mercury, and Starz Inc. The company bought several small production facilities and distributors, starting with Montreal-based Cinépix Film Properties  Vancouver, British Columbia. Completing its first year of operation, Lionsgate had revenue of $42.2 million with a loss of $397,000. The company share price dropped to a low of $1.40. it limited the corporation’s ability to make acquisitions via stock swaps. Lionsgate instead made its subsequent acquisition of Termite Art Productions, a reality-based television production company, for $2.75 million by issuing three convertible promissory notes. Giustra had the shareholders vote to move the company’s public listing from the Toronto Stock Exchange to the American Stock Exchange, along with a two-for-one stock consolidation to qualify for greater exposure that might boost share value.

Mr. Crawford has served in various positions at Capital Research and Management, a privately held investment management company. In December 2012, Mr. Crawford retired as its Senior Vice President. Currently, Mr. Crawford serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation. He is a Life Trustee on the Board of Trustees of Southern California Public Radio. Mr. Crawford formerly served as Vice Chairman at The Nature Conservancy, Vice Chairman of the Paley Center for Media, and was a member of the LA24 Olympic Bid Committee board. Mr. Crawford is Co-Chair of the Strategic Advisory Committee.

Opinion: You would think that someone is going to deal with Lions Gate. There are two companies in this week’s report that look like there will be an M&A transaction.  Viacom and Lion Gate both feel threatened by the future and I expect to see something happen. We already have a small position in Lions Gate but now seeing Gory upping his stake on top of the latest rumor-based surge, makes me more confident than ever that when there’s smoke, there’s likely fire.

 

Name: Blundin David B
Position: Director 10% Owner
Transaction Date: 2021-11-00  Shares Bought: 45,000 Average Price Paid: $14.76 Cost: $664,200

Name: Blundin David B
Position: Director 10% Owner
Transaction Date: 2021-11-08  Shares Bought: 47,344 Average Price Paid: $14.15 Cost: $669,918
Company: EverQuote Inc. (EVER)
EverQuote, Inc. operates an online marketplace for insurance shopping in the United States. The company’s online marketplace offers consumers shopping for auto, home and renters, life, health, and commercial insurance. It serves carriers and agents, as well as indirect distributors. The company was formerly known as AdHarmonics, Inc. It changed its name to EverQuote, Inc. . Its mission is to empower insurance shoppers to protect better life’s most important assets—their family, property, and future. Their vision is to use data and technology to simplify insurance, more affordable and personalized, ultimately reducing cost and risk in November 2014. EverQuote, Inc. was incorporated in 2008 and is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. EverQuote was built as a bootstrap, largely funding their growth under their power. Today, this approach continues to enable them to retain control over their destiny. They value speed to unit profitability with every new thing they do and expect initiatives to drive increasing value as they scale. They are obsessed with execution. Effort matters, but consistent execution wins. They are proactive, solution-oriented owners focused on generating high value for their customers. We test, learn and adapt with urgency to execute against their ambitious goals.

David B. Blundin is an entrepreneur and businessperson who founded six companies, which include: EverQuote, Inc., Percipio Asset Management LLC, and Vestmark, Inc., and who has been the head of 6 different companies. He holds the position of Chairman for Vestmark, Inc. (which he founded in 2001), Chairman of EverQuote, Inc. (which he founded in 2008), and Managing Partner at Link Equity Partners LLC (which he founded in 2006). He is also General Partner of Vestigo Ventures LLC. In his past career, David B. Blundin occupied the position of Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Cogo Labs, Inc. (he founded the company in 2005), President & Chief Executive Officer at Cirrus Recognition Systems, Inc., Chairman at Autotegrity, Inc., Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Datasage, Inc.

Opinion: In spite of the glowing things they say about themselves, this doesn’t look like a good business to me.  Revenues have been growing but the path to profitability looks elusive. I’m staying on the sidelines. It reminds me of Warren Buffetts’ 1st and 2nd Rule of Investing:  Don’t lose money is the 1st rule. Don’t forget the 1st rule is the 2nd.

 

Name: O’Brien Kathrine
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-11  Shares Bought: 7,000 Average Price Paid: $14.64 Cost: $102,480

Name: Helling Dennis
Position: Director
Transaction Date:2021-11-10  Shares Bought: 7,194 Average Price Paid: $13.86 Cost: $99,709

Name: Purcell Michael J
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-09  Shares Bought: 20,000 Average Price Paid: $13.66 Cost: $273,200
Company: Tabula Rasa HealthCare Inc. (TRHC)
Tabula Rasa HealthCare, Inc. operates as a healthcare technology company in the United States. The company operates through two segments, CareVention HealthCare and MedWise HealthCare. It offers EireneRx, a cloud-based medication decision-support, and e-prescribing platform to access patient medication-related information; and MedWise software that provides medication decision support components for clients seeking to manage their medication risk and improve medication outcomes, and patient relationships by enhancing their existing programs or systems. The company also provides RxCompanion, a cloud-based MTM software platform designed to aid in the identification and resolution of medication and other health-related problems; TruChart, a web-based electronic health record for Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) organizations; PACElogic, which delivers real-time sharable workflows comprising EHR, customer relationship management, claims adjudication, electronic data interchange, care management, coordination and planning, integration with community-based providers, and various federal and state-required reporting. In addition, the company offers DoseMeRx, a decision support software; PrescribeWellness, a patient engagement center platform; and clinical pharmacist collaboration, prescription fulfillment, and reminder packaging, and pharmacy cost management services, as well as health plan management services, including risk adjustment and third-party administrator services. As of December 31, 2020, it served approximately 130 healthcare organizations; 280 health plans, and approximately 14,000 retail pharmacies. The company provides cloud-based software applications to assist prescribers and pharmacists. Tabula Rasa HealthCare, Inc. was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in Moorestown, New Jersey.

Kathy O’Brien is Vice President of Skin and Marketing Services for Unilever North America overseeing a portfolio of brands including Dove, Caress, Suave, and Vaseline. She previously served as Unilever’s Vice President and General Manager of Foods in the United States, with responsibility for brands like Ragú, Skippy, Slim-fast, and Wishbone. In 2012, Ms. O’Brien was honored as a Top Woman in Grocery by Progressive Grocer Magazine. She was named one of Advertising Age’s 25 Women to Watch in 2010. Ms. O’Brien is on the Board of Directors of the Network of Executive Women (NEW) and Cosmetic Executive Women and is a member of the Board of Trustees of Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Dennis K. Helling founded the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. He is on the board of Tabula Rasa Healthcare, Inc. and Clinical Professor at Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences. In the past, Dr. Helling held the position of President of Accreditation Council For Pharmacy Education, President of American Pharmacist Association Foundation, Executive Director Emeritus-Pharmacy Operations at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado, President of American College of Clinical Pharmacy, Chairman-Working Group at International Pharmaceutical Federation, Associate Professor at the University of Iowa and Professor at the University of Houston.

Michael Purcell served as an audit partner at Deloitte & Touche for 36 years, providing assurance and advisory services to public and private enterprise clients. He was the Philadelphia Office leader of Deloitte’s middle-market and growth enterprise services. He has assisted many emerging companies over the years including successful initial public offerings and exit transactions. He currently serves as a consultant for several venture funds. Mr. Purcell has served on the Board of Directors and Audit Committee of numerous for-profit entities including Capital Funding Bancorp, McKean Defense Group, Code 3 Emergency Partners, and Intermex.

Opinion: Wow the wrath of analysts that are made to look like fools. According to theflyonthewall.com, Piper Sandler analyst Sean Wieland lowered the firm’s price target on Tabula Rasa HealthCare to $13 from $41 and said he lacks confidence in Tabula Rasa’s preliminary FY22 outlook and long-term expectations.  Wieland noted that he remains on the sidelines following today’s trading move.  Stifel analyst David Grossman lowered the firm’s price target on Tabula Rasa HealthCare to $24 from $42 and keeps a Hold rating on the shares. The company is a “show-me story more than ever” after its Q3 results were below consensus and Q4 guidance lowered significantly.

I like healthcare information technology but after a bloodbath like this, it’s best to stay on the sidelines and watch.  I might buy a placeholder amount of shares just to keep it on my screens. I am also looking for larger insider buys to provide confidence and affirmation that this is indeed the bottom.  TRHC has only $11.35M in cash with long-term debt of $346M and barely cash flow positive.

 

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Hailey Douglas
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-08  Shares Bought: 25,000 Average Price Paid: $13.70 Cost: $342,493
Company: BGSF Inc. (BGSF)
BGSF Inc. provides workforce solutions and placement services in the United States. It operates through three segments: Real Estate, Professional, and Light Industrial. The Real Estate segment provides office and maintenance field talent to various apartment communities and commercial buildings. The Professional segment offers skilled IT professionals with expertise in SAP, Workday, Peoplesoft, Hyperion, Oracle, One Stream, cyber, project management, and other IT workforce solutions, as well as finance, accounting, legal, human resource, and related support personnel. Its client partners include Fortune 500 companies, and medium and small companies, as well as consulting firms that engage in systems integration projects. The Light Industrial segment offers skilled and unskilled field talent to manufacturing, distribution, logistics, and call center client partners. It has 11 branch offices and 13 on-site locations operating in 7 states. The company was formerly known as BG Staffing, Inc. and changed its name to BGSF Inc. in February 2021. BGSF Inc. was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Plano, Texas.

Mr. Hailey served on the board of managers of LTN Acquisition, LLC (the former parent of the predecessor to BGSF, Inc.) since its inception and was appointed to our Board in November 2013. Mr. Hailey is the managing director of Taglich Private Equity LLC. Mr. Hailey joined Taglich Brothers, Inc. in 1994 as Head of Investment Banking and is an employee, not a partner, director, shareholder, or executive officer. Taglich Brothers, Inc. is not an affiliate of Taglich Private Equity LLC. He co-led the private equity initiative in 2001 and currently participates in evaluating and executing new investments. Prior to joining Taglich Brothers, Mr. Hailey spent five years with Weatherly Financial Group, assisting in sponsoring leveraged buyouts and five years in structured finance lending at Heller Financial and the Bank of New York.

Opinion: You would think that a staffing company would be killing it when all you hear about is you can’t find people to work.  I don’t like this kind of business as it’s basically a headcount versus an hourly rate.  There is little operating leverage to be applied.

 

Name: Sloan Harry
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-00  Shares Bought: 86,500 Average Price Paid: $12.48 Cost: $998,016

Name: Chafkin Casey
Position: Chief Revenue Officer
Transaction Date: 2021-11-08  Shares Bought: 86,500 Average Price Paid: $11.63 Cost: $1,005,969
Company: Skillz Inc. (SKLZ)
Skillz is the leading mobile games platform that connects players in fair, fun, and meaningful competition. The Skillz platform helps developers build multi-million dollar franchises by enabling social competition in their games. Leveraging its patented technology, Skillz hosts billions of casual esports tournaments for millions of mobile players worldwide and distributes millions in prizes each month. The company is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by leading venture capitalists, media companies, and professional sports leagues and franchises. Skillz has earned recognition as one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, CNBC’s Disruptor 50, Forbes’ Next Billion-Dollar Startups, and the #1 fastest-growing company in America on the Inc. 5000.  Skillz is built on the foundation that fair competition should be accessible to everyone. Skillz is pioneering the future of interactive entertainment in an increasingly digital era by connecting the world’s 2.6 billion mobile gamers through a highly engaging, competitive experience on their mission to make gaming better for both players and developers.

Harry E. Sloan was the founding investor, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of Flying Eagle Acquisition Corp. (NYSE: FEAC). Harry was also a founding investor of Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: DEAC) and previously served as chairman and chief executive officer of Silver Eagle Acquisition Corp. until the consummation of its business combination in March 2015 with Videocon d2h Limited (“Videocon”) (Nasdaq: VDTH). Harry has served on the board of directors of Videocon and as chairman and chief executive officer of Global Eagle Acquisition Corp. and remains a director of Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. Prior to this, Harry served as chairman and chief executive officer of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., or MGM, and chairman and chief executive officer of SBS Broadcasting, S.A. (“SBS”) (Nasdaq: SBTV), which he founded in 1990. Prior to founding SBS Broadcasting, S.A., Harry was chairman of the board of Lions Gate and co-chairman of New World Entertainment Ltd. Harry currently serves on the boards of Promotora de Informaciones, S.A. (“PRISA”) (NYSE: PRIS), and ZeniMax Media Inc.

Casey is the Chief Revenue Officer and co-founder of Skillz, the worldwide leader in mobile esports, named #1 on the 2017 Inc. 5000, and the first esports company ever named to the CNBC Disruptor 50. Under Casey’s leadership, Skillz has attracted over 30 million players and 20,000 developers to its platform and has distributed over $1 billion in prizes. Before Skillz, Casey was the V.P. of Business Development for AisleBuyer (now Intuit GoPayment). Casey is an expert in mobile payments and performance marketing and received his B.S. in economics from Duke University and his MBA from Harvard Business School. As a leader, entrepreneur, and co-founder, Casey has been featured in outlets such as CNBC, VentureBeat, Silicon Valley Business Journal, and PocketGamer.biz.

Opinion: I don’t like companies borne of SPACs. The SPAC initial holders are usually financial speculators just waiting to cash out.  It’s like a booby trap. You never know when it’s going to go off. You can see that below with all the stock to be sold filings. This one is busted enough to give me some peace of mind that the holders might wait out better prices before unloading. I like the narrative and the space.  Insiders at Apploving were big buyers of their stock in spite of mounting criticism and skeptics and the stock is up 90% in six months.  Mobile gaming is a hot space with ample stock chasers that can quickly run up the price and change the narrative. Throw in NFL and sports gambling, high short interest, and management with a platform and $540M to grow it. SKIlLZ is not without its skeptics and rightly so but the risk is to the upside. Nervous short-sellers with a 25.9% short ratio and Katie Woods buying can make for an explosive situation. Add a few insiders willing to buy $millions of dollars instead of constantly selling and we’ve got a barn burner on our hands.  Ultimately success is spelled in dollars and cents but in the short term, it’s all narrative.  This narrative could change suddenly.  This was our largest purchase from this crop of insider buying.

Feb 4th stock begins a manic run-up on the vaporware news that the NFL had tapped Skillz to reach a new audience and crowdsource a future mobile sport.

March 8th Wolfpack Research produced a report that said it was ‘SPACtacular diaster coming’  and that they were shorting SKLZ as the revenue projections were farcical. Their top games were stagnant to declining.  They were right in the short term as SKLZ was priced to perfection.

March 15th Short-seller Restrinct publishes a report which it claims Skillz “is simply another skill-based gambling startup,” adding that “these exact, literally identical, business models have existed in the past and have largely gone defunct or failed to scale over time.” Skillz management “has a history of announcing partnership and projects that have failed to materialize,” claims the short seller, which added that Skillz “is essentially paying a dollar in advertising to show eighty cents in growth.”

March 17th Skillz files to sell 32M shares of stock.

Skillz disclosed that on April 29, the Audit Committee of its board concluded that the company’s consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020 “should no longer be relied upon due to some warrant liability accounting issues yet they raised their revenue outlook to $375M.

April 21st  Cathie Wood’s ARKK investment discloses buying 5.07M shares

Aug 23rd Skillz files to sell 4.4M shares

April 26 Skills CEO on CNBC rebuts short seller and talks about ARKK investment

Oct 21 Skillz (SKLZ) announced the appointment of Vatsal Bhardwaj as the company’s Chief Product Officer. An experienced gaming executive who most recently served as the General Manager and Director of Game Tech for Amazon Web Services (AMZN), AWS, Bhardwaj joins the Skillz C-suite, further strengthening the company’s executive team with seasoned leaders from many of the world’s most prominent brands. Skillz Names Former Amazon Executive Vatsal Bhardwaj as Chief Product Officer to Drive the Future of Mobile Gaming. “With an outstanding track record at both Amazon and Facebook, Vatsal brings nearly two decades of experience to the Skillz leadership team at a pivotal time as we aggressively scale and grow our business around the world,” said Andrew Paradise, CEO and Founder of Skillz. “Under his direction, our product team will develop and deploy innovative new gameplay technologies, accelerate our entry into multiplayer synchronous gaming, and build out brand-sponsored tournaments and partnerships, giving both our players and developers the best experience possible.”

Skillz files to sell 4.4M shares for selling stockholders last August. Reports Q3 revenue $102.07M, consensus $102.31M. The company said, ” “Skillz delivered another quarter of strong results, achieving 70% year-over-year revenue growth. We’re so proud to see our new content exceeding expectations, with Big Buck Hunter: Marksman hitting the number one spot in the sports category of the App Store last month.”

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Watts Claudius E
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-09  Shares Bought: 65,000 Average Price Paid: $9.79 Cost: $636,301

Name: Choi Justin C
Position: SVP Chief Legal Officer & Sec
Transaction Date: 2021-11-09  Shares Bought: 15,384 Average Price Paid: $9.75 Cost: $149,989
Company: CommScope Holding Company Inc. (COMM)
CommScope Inc. is an American global network infrastructure provider company based in Hickory, North Carolina. CommScope employs over 30,000 employees worldwide. With customers in over 130 countries. The company joined the NASDAQ stock exchange on October 25, 2013. CommScope designs and manufactures a variety of network infrastructure products. It has four business segments: Home Networks, Broadband Networks, Venue, Campus Networks, and Outdoor Wireless Networks. At CommScope, they push the boundaries of communications technology to create the world’s most advanced networks. They design, manufacture, install and support the hardware infrastructure and software intelligence that enables their digital society to interact and thrive. Working with customers, they advance broadband, enterprise, and wireless networks to power progress and create lasting connections. Across the globe, their people and solutions are redefining connectivity, solving today’s challenges, and driving the innovation that will meet the needs of what’s next.  CommScope has initially been a product line of Superior Continental Cable, which was founded in 1953 in Hickory, North Carolina. In 1961, Superior created a division called Comm/Scope, which developed CATV systems and sold a coaxial cable named CommScope. In 1967, Superior was acquired by Continental Telephone Company, with CommScope becoming a division of Continental. In 1975, Frank Drendel headed a team charged with selling the product line. Drendel and Jearld Leonhardt founded CommScope in August 1976 after raising $5.1 million to purchase the CommScope product line. Two years later, CommScope and Valtech merged under the Valtech name. In 1979 Valtech donated fiber optics lines and equipment to link the U.S. House of Representatives to the C-SPAN studios, enabling live broadcasting of U.S. Congressional proceedings for the first time.

Mr. Watts joined the Board of Directors in 2011 and serves as our Chairman. He previously served as Lead Independent Director from 2017 to 2020 and a member of the Compensation Committee from 2011 to 2020 and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee from 2013 to 2020. He is a private investor and founder of Meeting Street Capital, which invests in early-stage software and tech-enabled services businesses. He also serves as a Senior Advisor to the Carlyle Group, where he was a partner until 2017. Mr. Watts established Carlyle’s Technology Buyout business in 2004 and led it until 2014. Prior to joining Carlyle in 2000, Mr. Watts was a Managing Director in the M&A group of First Union Securities, Inc. which he joined when it acquired Bowles Hollowell Conner & Co., where he was a principal.

Justin Choi is Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and Secretary at CommScope, a global leader in infrastructure solutions for communications networks. Choi most recently served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Secretary, and Chief Compliance Officer of Anixter International, Inc., a global distributor of communication, security, and cable products from 2012 to 2020. Before that, Mr. Choi served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary of Andrew Corporation, a global leader in the wireless infrastructure industry.

Opinion: It will be hard if not impossible for the Company to get the $9B off their balance sheet that they incurred mostly from the $7.2B cash purchase of Arris from Carlyle’s private equity whorehouse. I think Watt’s purchase is just part of the whole PE shame that burdens companies with onerous debt loads while a handful of private equity partners make billions. Avoid- I’ve already lost enough money there following insiders only to discover they are intertwined purchases with Carlyle.

Finviz Chart

Name: Silcock Julie
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-09  Shares Bought: 5,000 Average Price Paid: $5.84 Cost: $28,000

Name: Garza Antonio O
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-10  Shares Bought: 12,500 Average Price Paid: $5.79 Cost: $72,375

Name: Rafferty Michael P
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-09  Shares Bought: 269,600 Average Price Paid: $5.74 Cost: $43,050

Name: Turner W Bruce
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-09  Shares Bought: 269,600 Average Price Paid: $5.65 Cost: $1,523,705

Name: Gupta Alka
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-10  Shares Bought: 10,715 Average Price Paid: $5.60 Cost: $60,004

Name: Holmes W. Alexander
Position: CEO Chairman
Transaction Date: 2021-11-10  Shares Bought: 5,000 Average Price Paid: $5.60 Cost: $28,000
Company: Moneygram International Inc. (MGI)
MoneyGram International, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides cross-border peer-to-peer payments and money transfer services in the United States and internationally. The company operates through two segments, Global Funds Transfer and Financial Paper Products. The Global Funds Transfer segment offers money transfer services and bill payment services through third-party agents, including retail chains, independent retailers, post offices, banks, and other financial institutions; and digital solutions, such as moneygram.com, mobile solutions, digital partners, wallets, and account deposit services. The Financial Paper Products segment provides money orders to consumers through its agents and financial institutions under the MoneyGram brand and on a private label or co-branded basis with various agents and financial institutions, and official check outsourcing services for banks and credit unions. MoneyGram International, Inc. was incorporated in 2003 and is based in Dallas, Texas. MoneyGram is leading the evolution of digital P2P payments. With a purpose-driven strategy to mobilize the movement of money, a strong culture of fintech innovation, and leading customer-centric capabilities, MoneyGram has grown to serve nearly 150 million people across the globe over the last five years. The Company leverages its modern, mobile, and API-driven platform and collaborates with the world’s leading brands to serve consumers through MoneyGram Online (MGO), its direct-to-consumer digital business, its global retail network, and its emerging embedded finance business for enterprise customers, MoneyGram as a Service.

Julie E. Silcock has been a director of MoneyGram International, Inc. since February 2021. Ms. Silcock currently serves as a Senior Advisor at CDX Advisors where she is involved in strategic advisory M&A and capital raising activities primarily for growth-oriented companies in the Southwest. Ms. Silcock has over 35 years of Capital Markets and M&A experience, having previously served as Co-Head of Southwest Investment Banking at Houlihan Lokey and, prior to that, having founded and acted as Head of Southwest Investment Banking at Citigroup. Ms. Silcock earned her M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business and holds a B.A. degree from Princeton University. She currently also serves on the boards of Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc., a crude oil and petroleum shipping company, and JC Skincare, a privately held beauty company.

Ambassador Antonio O. Garza has been a director of  MoneyGram International Inc. since April 2012. Amb. Garza has served as Counsel in the Mexico City office of White & Case LLP, an international law firm, since 2009. He currently serves as a director of Kansas City Southern, a railroad company, and Chairman of the Board of Kansas City Southern de México, a subsidiary of Kansas City Southern. Amb. Garza serves on the Board of Trustees of Southern Methodist University and the Board of Americas Technology Acquisition Corp. He served as a director of Basic Energy Services, Inc. from 2009 to 2016. From 2002 to 2009, Amb. Garza was the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. Prior to that time, Amb. Garza served as chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission, having been elected to that statewide office in 1998. Amb. Garza is a former partner at Bracewell & Patterson LLP (now Bracewell) and served as Secretary of State of the State of Texas and Senior Policy Advisor to the Governor of the State of Texas from 1994 to 1997, and as Cameron County Judge from 1988 to 1994.

Michael P. Rafferty has been a director of MoneyGram International, Inc. since March 2016. Mr. Rafferty was a member of Ernst & Young LLP, a global public accounting firm, from 1975 until his retirement in 2013. Mr. Rafferty was admitted as a Partner of Ernst & Young LLP in 1988 and served as the Audit Practice Leader for the Southwest Region from 2004 until 2013. During his career with Ernst & Young LLP, he primarily served clients in the financial services and healthcare industries. Mr. Rafferty currently serves as a director and chairman of the audit committee of Triumph Bancorp, Inc., a financial holding company with a diversified line of community banking, commercial finance, and asset management activities. Mr. Rafferty is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in Texas.

W. Bruce Turner has been a director of  MoneyGram International, Inc. since May 2010. Mr. Turner served as the Chief Executive Officer of Lottomatica Group S.p.A. (a/k/a, Lottomatica SpA), a global lottery operations and technology service company, from 2006 to 2008, where he also acted as its General Manager. From 2002 to 2006, he served as Chief Executive Officer, as well as other executive roles, of GTECH Holdings Corporation (GTECH), a global technology services company in the government regulated lottery industry, and now a subsidiary of Lottomatica. From 2001 to 2002, Mr. Turner served as Chairman of GTECH, and from 2000 to 2001, he served as Chairman and Acting Chief Executive Officer.

Alka Gupta has been a director of MoneyGram International, Inc. since February 2021. Ms. Gupta was a Co-Founder of and former President at globaliD, Inc., where she currently still serves on the Board. During her tenure as Co-Founder and President, she led globaliD’s growth including building a high-quality team, launching a cutting-edge product, and signing on first digital wallet customers. Prior to this, she was an executive at eBay/PayPal as Head of Strategy for eBay Marketplaces building new growth strategies in areas such as mobile commerce and cross-border payments. Ms. Gupta earned her M.B.A. from The Wharton School and holds a B.S. degree from Case Western Reserve University.

Alex Holmes has been the Chairman and CEO of MoneyGram International, Inc. since January 2016. MoneyGram is the leader in cross-border P2P payments and money transfers with over 80% global brand awareness and a presence in over 200 countries and territories. Under his leadership, MoneyGram has embarked on a digital transformation and customer-centric shift to lead the evolution of digital P2P payments. Over the last four years, Holmes has led strategic initiatives to completely overhaul the company’s legacy technology systems, build a direct-to-consumer digital channel, invest in international market expansion, develop the world’s best compliance engine, and modernize the operating model to streamline and digitize the organization.

Opinion: Lots of tiny purchases with one sizeable buy from the director, Turner.  Moneygram has a sexy story going with gravitating its payments technology over to crypto transactions. It was initially Ripple that invested in the Company creating a compelling narrative. Then the SEC charged Ripple founders with fraud and the story quickly became unsexy.  I’m not sure where we’re at now but Money Gram is not a story any longer. It’s a show-me stock and judging by the price action, it has not shown much.

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Schundler Russell
Position: General Counsel
Transaction Date: 2021-11-10  Shares Bought: 117,908 Average Price Paid: $4.21 Cost: $496,834
Company: Liquidia Corp. (LQDA)
Liquidia is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of products that address unmet patient needs, with a current focus directed towards the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Their current pipeline is focused on the development of product candidates using their PRINT® Technology platform, which includes LIQ861 for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Their subsidiary, Liquidia PAH (formerly RareGen), generates revenue pursuant to a promotional agreement between RareGen and Sandoz, sharing profit derived from the sale of the first-to-file fully substitutable generic treprostinil injection, or Treprostinil Injection, in the United States. Liquidia conducts research, development, and manufacturing of novel products by applying its proprietary PRINT technology, a particle engineering platform, to enable the precise production of uniform drug particles engineered to improve the safety, efficacy, and performance of a wide range of therapies.

Mr. Russell T. Schundler is a Secretary & General Counsel at Liquidia Corp., a Member at The Virginia Bar Association, and a Secretary at Dova Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Mr. Schundler was previously employed as a General Counsel by PBM Capital Group LLC, an Attorney by McGuireWoods LLP, and an Attorney by Woods Rogers Plc. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a graduate degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Opinion: It was a hat trick, according to analyst Belanger from Needham as he raised the price target to $8 from $5. Liquidia announced that the FDA granted tentative approval for Yutrepia inhalation powder, previously referred to as LIQ861. Yutrepia is indicated for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension, or PAH, to improve exercise ability in adult patients with New York Heart Association, or NYHA, Functional Class II-III symptoms. Tentative approval indicates that Yutrepia has met all regulatory standards for quality, safety, and efficacy required for approval in the United States.  They also had positive developments in our ongoing litigation with United Therapeutics.

Liquidia was up 18% last week on this approval.  All the more impressive considering small-cap biotechs have been underperformers as a group.

Name: Litchman Manuel MD
Position: CEO
Transaction Date: 2021-10-27  Shares Bought: 65,000 Average Price Paid: $2.24 Cost: $145,600
Company: Mustang Bio Inc. (MBIO)
Mustang Bio, Inc. (“Mustang”) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on translating today’s medical breakthroughs in cell and gene therapies into potential cures for hematologic cancers, solid tumors, and rare genetic diseases. Mustang aims to acquire rights to these technologies by licensing or otherwise acquiring an ownership interest, funding research and development, and out-licensing or bringing the technologies to market. Mustang has partnered with top medical institutions to advance the development of CAR T therapies across multiple cancers, as well as lentiviral gene therapy for XSCID. Mustang is registered under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, amended, and files periodic reports with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Mustang Bio was founded in 2015 and, in the same year, became a partner company of Fortress Biotech. In April 2017, Manuel Litchman took over as CEO of Mustang Bio. In October of the same year, the company signed a lease with the University of Massachusetts Medicine Science Park in Worcester, MA, for a manufacturing facility to support CAR-T products’ clinical development and commercialization for glioblastoma and acute care myeloid leukemia. Until 2018, the company’s studies focused mainly on cancer-fighting therapies and cell therapies. After licensing a gene therapy from St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Mustang Bio expanded its efforts to immunodeficiency treatments. In April 2019, it was announced that the gene therapy developed by St. Jude’s showed positive results in a trial involving eight infants suffering from X-SCID. Mustang Bio expects to take over the trial from St Jude by 2020 fully. In May 2019, Mustang Bio raised $32 million in an underwritten public offering to fund its continued development of products to treat blood cancers, solid tumors, and rare genetic diseases. The corporation was founded in 1963 and is headquartered in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

Dr. Litchman has served as President and Chief Executive Officer and has been a member of Mustang’s Board of Directors since April 2017. Dr. Litchman joined Mustang from Arvinas, LLC, where he served as President and Chief Executive Officer. While at Arvinas, Dr. Litchman oversaw the advancement of the company’s pipeline of protein-degradation therapeutics for the treatment of cancers and other diseases toward Investigational New Drug applications, as well as the execution of multi-target discovery collaborations with Merck and Genentech. Before Arvinas, Dr. Litchman spent more than 18 years with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, where he held positions of increasing responsibility related to the development of Novartis’ oncology pipeline. Most recently, Dr. Litchman served as Senior Vice President and Executive Global Program Head, CTL019, Cell & Gene Therapies Unit,

Opinion: We don’t normally look at insider buys this small but this was the latest in a long list of purchases.  We are an investor in MBIO but are not adding to it at this time.

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Shannon John Patrick Jr
Position: President & Chief Operating Office
Transaction Date: 2021-11-11 Shares Bought: 100,000 Average Price Paid: $2.10 Cost: $209,500

Name: Edick Paul R
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-11 Shares Bought: 200,000 Average Price Paid: $2.08 Cost: $415,760
Company: Xeris Biopharma Holdings Inc. (XERS)
Xeris Biopharma Holdings, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, engages in developing and commercializing therapies for patient populations in endocrinology, neurology, and gastroenterology. It markets Gvoke, ready-to-use liquid glucagon for the treatment of severe hypoglycemia; and Keveyis, a therapy for primary periodic paralysis. The company also has a pipeline of development programs to extend the marketed products into new indications and uses and bring new products using its proprietary formulation technology platforms, XeriSol and XeriJect. The company was founded in 2005 and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Xeris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Xeris”), a pharmaceutical company leveraging its novel formulation technology platforms to develop and commercialize ready-to-use injectable drug formulations, today announced that it has successfully completed the previously announced acquisition of Strongbridge Biopharma plc (Nasdaq: SBBP) (“Strongbridge”). Under the terms of the acquisition agreement, the businesses of Xeris and Strongbridge are now combined under Xeris Biopharma Holdings, Inc. (“Xeris Biopharma Holdings”). Strongbridge shares and Xeris shares ceased trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market (“Nasdaq”) at the close of business today. Shares of Xeris Biopharma Holdings are expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “XERS” on October 6, 2021.

Mr. Shannon currently serves as the President and Chief Operating Officer at Xeris Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Shannon has 30+ years of pharmaceutical and healthcare experience with a diverse background in sales, global and US marketing, operations and manufacturing, strategic planning, and business development. Most recently, Mr. Shannon spent 2 years as Chief Executive Officer for Catheter Connections, Inc., a company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative vascular access products designed to protect patients from acquiring infections during intravenous infusion therapy. Catheter Connections, Inc. was acquired by Merit Medical in January 2016.

Mr. Edick is currently Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Xeris Pharmaceuticals, a private technology-based company with an initial focus on therapies for diabetes-associated hypoglycemia. Prior to Xeris Pharmaceuticals, Mr. Edick was the Founding Partner of 3G Advisors, a consultancy to the pharmaceutical, healthcare, and healthcare investor communities. From 2010 to 2014, Mr. Edick was the Chief Executive Officer of Durata Therapeutics (Nasdaq: DRTX), a biopharmaceutical company addressing the growing need for new antibiotics to treat infectious diseases. Durata was acquired by Actavis plc in November 2014. Prior to Durata, Mr. Edick was Chief Executive Officer of Ganic Pharmaceuticals, a Warburg Pincus investment search vehicle, from 2008 to 2010. Before Ganic, Mr. Edick was Chief Executive Officer of MedPointe Healthcare, Inc.

Opinion: Many of these small-cap biotechs have similar-looking charts like MBIO and XERS.  Small cpa biotech CEO’s spend much of their time fund raising as the companies bleed cash. Investors can hope for three exit or profit strategies.

  1.  The earliest stage- a company’s promising technology attracts a buyout or substantial cash investment from a cash-flush pharmaceutical company.
  2. Drug approval and cash infusion from marketing partners.
  3. Last, an FDA approval and successful drug launch

 

 

Finviz Chart

Name: Kronsberg Joseph Isaac
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2021-11-11 Shares Bought: 150,000 Average Price Paid: $2.02 Cost: $303,734
Company: Overseas Shipholding Group Inc. (OSG)
Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc. (NYSE: OSG) is a publicly-traded company providing energy transportation services for crude oil and petroleum products in the U.S. Flag markets. OSG is a major operator of tankers and ATBs in the Jones Act industry. OSG’s 22 vessel U.S. Flag fleet consists of three crude oil tankers doing business in Alaska, two conventional ATBs, two lightering ATBs, three shuttle tankers, ten MR tankers, and two non-Jones Act MR tankers that participate in the U.S. Maritime Security Program. OSG also currently owns and operates one Marshall Islands-flagged MR tanker which trades internationally. OSG is committed to setting high standards of excellence for its quality, safety, and environmental programs. OSG is recognized as one of the world’s most customer-focused marine transportation companies. OSG is a world-class provider of energy transportation services with superior customer relationships, talented ship, and shore-based staff, high operational standards, and a long history of profitability and growth. To meet the expectations of their customers, stakeholders, and employees, Their mission is to remain focused on attaining these primary business goals. Their vision is to be the most respected energy transportation company operating under the U.S. flag, both within and outside of the Jones Act trade. Central to their vision is providing incident-free transportation services while protecting their crews, vessels, and the environment. They achieve this by staying focused on doing these things right.

Mr. Kronsberg has been a Director of INSW since November 30, 2016. Previously, he served in various roles at Cyrus Capital Partners, L.P. since 2006, and is currently a Principal responsible for certain investments in the financial, shipping, and energy sectors. Mr. Kronsberg is currently a Director of OSG. Previously, Mr. Kronsberg worked at Greenhill & Co. as a generalist in its Mergers & Acquisitions and Restructuring departments. Mr. Kronsberg has a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated summa cum laude. Mr. Kronsberg’s extensive financial expertise and experience in investing and investment management make him a valuable asset to the Board.

Opinion: There has been steady insider buying all year yet the stock is trading at the bottom of its trading range.  There is no growth in this business for the last five years and minimal profitability.  I don’t know why anyone would buy it. Perhaps this is the year that things change?

 


 

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Insiders sell the stock for many reasons, but they generally buy for just one – to make money. You’ve always heard the best information is inside information.  Everyone who has any experience at all in the stock market pays close attention to what insiders are doing.  After all, who knows a business better than the people running it?  Officers, directors, and 10% owners are required to inform the public through a Form 4 Filing any transaction, buy, sell, exercise, or any other with 48 hours of doing so. This info is available for free from the SEC’s Web site, Edgar, although we subscribe to SECForm4  as they provide a way to manage and make sense of the vast realms of data. I’ve tried a lot of vendors and SECForm4 is one of the most customer-friendly and responsive I’ve used.

We publish a subscription newsletter called The Insiders Report.  We offer a free 30-day trial so you have nothing to lose by trying it out. Be sure to carefully read the TERMS OF SERVICE.

Another source for insider buying and selling and much more is FinViz Elite. FinViz stands for financial visualization and they do an amazing job of providing reams of data and the tools to help you get to the bottom of it, the information that helps me make informed decisions and probable outcomes. I’ve been using their site for years and it only gets better over time.

This is as close to “insider information” that an ordinary investor is likely to see- and it’s entirely legal. 

BEWARE– Following insiders can be hazardous to your financial health unless you know what you are doing.  Unlike the raw, unfiltered data, The Insiders Fund blog informs you of the purchases that count, the ones that are just window dressing into deceiving the public that all is hunky-dory, and those that are just flat out other people’s money and should be just discarded like bad fish. As a rule, we only look at material amounts of money, $200 thousand or more, as anything less could just be window dressing.

The bar is different from selling because the natural state of management is to be sellers. This is because most companies provide significant amounts of management compensation packages as stock and options. Therefore, with selling, we analyze for unusual patterns, such as insiders selling 25 percent or more of their holdings or multiple insiders selling near 52-week lows. Another red flag is large planned sale programs that start without warning. Unfortunately, the public information disclosure requirements about these programs referred to as Rule 10b5-1 is horrendously poor. Also planned sales that just pop up out of nowhere are basically sales and are seeking cover under the Sarbanes Oxley corporate welfare clause. I also generally ignore 10 percent shareholders as they tend to be OPM (other people’s money) and perhaps not the smart money we are trying to read the tea leaves on.

Of course, insiders can also be wrong about their Company’s prospects. Don’t let anyone fool you into believing they never make mistakes.  No one tracks and understands insider behavior better than us. We’ve been doing it religiously since 2001 when I quit being an insider myself and devoted myself full time to managing my personal investments. They can easily be wrong about how much others will value them, and in many cases, maybe most cases have no more idea what the future may hold than you or I. In short, you can lose money following them.  We have and we curse aloud, what were they thinking!  Needless to say, past good fortune is no guarantee of future success.  We may own positions, long or short, in any of these names and are under no obligation to disclose that. We welcome your comments on our analysis.

This blog is solely for educational purposes and the author’s own amusement.  Investing with The Insiders Fund is for qualified investors and by Prospectus only. Nothing herein should be construed otherwise.  THE INSIDERS FUND invests in companies at or near prices that management has been willing to invest significant amounts of their own money in.  If you would like to hear more about how you can get involved with the Insiders Fund, please schedule some time on my calendar. 

Prosperous Trading,

Harvey Sax

The Insiders Fund was the 4th best long-short equity fund in the world in 2019