Research Update - December 23, 2021

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Happy holidays. This is our last research report of 2021, and as a gesture of good fellowship and thanks to everyone who has supported us during the past year, we are providing the entire report for free to everyone on our mailing list.  If you’re not familiar with our work, this report is typical of what we publish for our institutional level clients in any given month. We hope you enjoy it.

Within today’s report you’ll see we have six new additions to our Watch List.  These are companies with newly confirmed, undisclosed SEC Investigations. They are:

  • 3D Systems Corp. – DDD
  • Best Buy Co., Inc. – BBY
  • Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. – BBW
  • Greenbrier Companies – GBX
  • Sterling Bancorp – STL
  • Tronox Holdings plc – TROX

We reiterated our warnings after again confirming the presence of undisclosed SEC investigations at Ameriprise (AMP); Huntington Bancshares, the TCF financial unit (HBAN/TCF); and, NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA).

We issued alerts on two companies already on our Watch List because of recently disclosed events.

In the case of Lyft (LYFT), the CFO left. The company announced the appointment of the new CFO on 02-Dec-2021, with an effective date only one month later, on 03-Jan-2022.  The company claims the former CFOs departure is not the result of any dispute or disagreement with the company, blah, blah, blah. However, departure of a CFO in the presence of an undisclosed SEC investigation is troubling.

Over at Six Flags Entertainment (SIX), the General Counsel position was eliminated shortly after the abrupt departure of the CEO. This makes one wonder are these people fleeing, being forced out, or is this just a coincidence? Unless there are forces at work to meaningfully and positively reshape the governance and management of Six Flags, we view this latest departure as an additional red flag.

Finally, we removed three companies from our Watch List as it appears their undisclosed SEC investigations have now ended. In some cases, we were able to acquire some of the related investigative records and we discuss them below. The three companies are: Anthem, Inc. (ANTM), Coty, Inc. (COTY), and Groupon, Inc. (GRPN).  Groupon also announced a new CEO on 01-Dec-2021.   

That’s all you get.  I leave you all with gratitude for your continued support and good wishes for a prosperous and healthy new year. 

 -  John P. Gavin, CFA


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