Whitney Tilson

NetFlix CEO Sends Mea Culpa Letter To Clients: "I Messed Up. I Owe You An Explanation"

Now that Netflix has lost its lustre, its coolness factor, and frankly, its cash flow (which it never had to begin with), here comes the Monday Morning Quarterbacking with some damage control from the CEO which is too little, too late. That said, if Whitney Tilson is re-shorting the company here, everyone should pile in ASAP.

Netflix Plunges After Subscriber Guidance Cut

The myths of this market continue breaking one after another. After two substantial and long overdue trading blow ups in the past 24 hours, we next turn to that other momo miracle: Netflix, which at last check had plunged 12% to about $180 following an update from the company, in which it said it subscriber growth will come in below plan. Of course, the only ones surprised by this move, are those who are actually long NFLX (and those who bought into Goldman's topticking upgrade which brought the stock to over $300 however briefly). We expect "value investor" of very high conviction, Whitney Tilson, who lately has been known best for shorting low and covering higher, to soon resume his bearish position in the name. And yes, we still expect that the company will very soon come to market with a dilutive equity offering to raise cash and stench the relentless real cash burn.

Dan Loeb Not Spared From August Market Bloodbath, Down 3% Despite Gold Top Holding

For the second month in a row, Dan Loeb's $7.9 billion Third Point retains gold as its top position. And if that was his only holding he would have done quite well. Unfortunately, he also has quite a few equities, and courtesy of his net 17.7% exposure to equities (and 18.5% to credit) his funds dropped anywhere between 2.7% and 4.5%. Even so, Loeb's flagship fund is up 3.9% YTD, a performance 13F-chasing Whitney Tilson (not to mention mutual fund Paulson & Co.) can only dream about. Loeb continues to be most bullish on ABS credit, while accentuating his hatred for govvies, which account for his biggest short net exposure or -10.3%, an increase from last month's -8.9%. Top equities (except for confidential and FX positions - oddly a new footnote disclaimer, was not there last month - does it mean Loeb has engaged in a major "confidential" position or is he now a major FX trader?) for 3rd Point are Delphi, CIT, Technicolor (a new addition) and El Paso.

So Much For "Value Investing" - Whitney Tilson Plunges 13.3% In August, Down A Mass Redemption-Inducing 21.1% YTD

If anyone works in finance, chances are they have at some point, or more likely, constantly, received emails (we want to keep it civil) to participate in the Value Investing Congress, which purportedly, promotes ideas based on, well, value. Alas, if that is indeed the case, then primary sponsor Whitney Tilson's T2, has to urgently look up the definition of velue. To wit: "Our fund declined 13.3% in August vs. -5.4% for the S&P 500, -4.0% for the Dow and -6.4% for the Nasdaq. Year to date, it’s down 21.9% vs. -1.8% for the S&P 500, +2.1% for the Dow and - 2.2% for the Nasdaq." Even more to wit: "On the long side, our portfolio got clobbered across the board despite generally good company- specific news regarding our major holdings (discussed below). Amidst a tumultuous month in the markets, investors dumped stocks that were even slightly illiquid, or that are valued primarily on future, rather than current, profits – both traits that characterize many positions in our fund. One of our biggest advantages is being willing and able to look out 2-3 years when most investors are looking out 2-3 months (or, in many cases, 2-3 microseconds), but this hurt us last month." But wait, despite what is basically the start of yet another hedge death watch, Tilson sees smooth sailing ahead. "In our view, the turmoil of the past month has created the best bargains we’ve seen in the market since the chaos and panic of late 2008 and early 2009. Of course stocks aren’t anywhere as cheap now as they were then, but the risks aren’t nearly as great either (we think many people didn’t realize or have forgotten how close we were then to a worldwide Great Depression), so on a risk-adjusted basis we think our portfolio is as attractive now as it was then." We can only hope Whitney has some, any, money left to spend on chasing these amazing value bargains. In the worst case, the fees from the VIC conference should find the purchase of at least one block of ES.

Our Biggest Surprise From The "Patriotic Millionaires For More Taxes Initiative": Whitney Tilson Makes Over A $1,000,000

When we read about the "Patriotic Millionaires" initative, in which anyone can submit a name and an email address, and indicate they make over a million dollars, while patriotically proclaiming their desire to be taxed more, our biggest surprise was not that nearly 400 Americans gave the IRS a carte blanche to go through their 2011 tax returns line by line, but that Whitney Tilson actually makes over a million per year. It appears the "Value" Investing Congress still has money left over after spending millions on R&D for uncovering revolutionary ways for its VIC conference invite (80% off, but only if you respond in the next 10 minutes) blast mail to pass through every single spam filter known to man (or so it would appear to disinterested 3rd parties who have tendonitis from hitting unsubscribe countless times). That said, we are confident all of these patriotic individuals will gladly submit at least an additional 10% of their gross income to the IRS, and provide proof of doing so, regardless of how successful their highly patriotic and altruistic campaign ends up being. Because otherwise those tempted to do so, may actually accuse said "millionaires" of hypocritical posturing. Incidentally, perhaps next said self-proclaimed millionaires, who count in their ranks such rich men as Nouriel Roubini, Leo Hindery, Mike Steinhardt, and Edie Falco can also disclose the liability side of their balance sheets.

Whitney Tilson's Comprehensive Presentation On Life, The Economy, And Everything

Lately, Whitney Tilson's "value investing" record has taken some bruises (today's latest MSFT fiasco notwithstanding: bottom line is sometimes stocks are "value" for a reason), although he still makes presentations better than most. Below is his latest comprehensive analysis of the economy "An Overview of Behavioral Finance and the Economy, What Worries Us, Our View of the Market, and Some Stock Ideas." Lots of pretty charts and some good overall observations, with an emphasis on housing and macroeconomics.

Lights Out Netflix? Facebook (And Its 600 Million Users) Enters "Zero Barriers To Entry" Video Streaming Market

Has anyone seen the latest Whitney Tilson NFLX reshort memo? Because if the news that Facebook and its 600 million registered users is entering the video streaming market is true, and it appears to be, the "value inventor" should promptly forget that he topticked the market with his short cover a few weeks back, swallow his pride and actually make money. As for Netflix, the world's most ridiculous zero barriers to entry business model is about to realize why most SWOT analyses typically at least cast a casual glance at said barriers to entry. Because when there are none, you can go from hero to zero in a like amount of time. All Things Digital reports: "The social media giant is taking its first step to connect you with
movies and TV shows, while collecting a fee in the process. It’s going
to let users rent movies directly from the site, using Facebook Credits
to pay for the transaction. First up is “The Dark Knight”, from Time Warner’s Warner Bros.. It will
cost 30 credits, or $3, for a 48-hour rental, via an app the studio has
built for the site. More movies, along with the ability to purchase the
titles outright, are coming." And so, the race to the bottom in Netflix margins begins. Next up: we repeat our prediction that NFLX will be forced to come to market with an equity offering, which will promptly cut the value of the world's most overpriced stock by at least 33%.

ilene's picture

The Inimical Inflation Kind

it's not just the Federal Reserve that is in denial but the commodity speculators, the equity investors and even the bond investors as the ALL believe they are going to get paid while MATH says that's not even remotely possible.

Dollar Plummets As Expectations Of QE3 Spread

While it is not surprising that the Swiss Franc is surging almost as much as silver in today's flight to safety episode, and even "value investor" Whitney Tilson is rumored to be shorting Netflix again after topticking his cover with immaculate perfection, what is a little disturbing is that the dollar has plunged to the lowest levels since February 3. The reason, of course, is that with global unrest spreading like Molotov cocktail fire, and implied US GDP plunging by 5% in the past week on the hike in oil prices, it is becoming very evident that the recovery myth is now over, despite claims by the NAR charlatans, and another round of quantitative easing is almost inevitable. What that means for the dollar is precisely what one can see on the chart below. As for the use of funds in the upcoming QE episode, perhaps the Fed can instruct the Primary Dealers to go out and buy some WTI this time instead of just crowding into Apple and REITs...

Whitney Tilson Capitulates, Covers Netflix Short

"In mid-December, we published a lengthy article on why Netflix was our largest bearish bet at the time. With the stock up nearly 25% since then, one might assume that we’d think it’s an even better short today, but in fact we have closed out our position because we are no longer confident that our investment thesis is correct." Whitney Tilson

Whitney Tilson Underperforms S&P By 30%, Blames Bulk Of Miss On Netflix

Whitney Tilson, the consummate "value investor" is the latest confirmation of what we have been claiming since the beginning of 2010: namely that with the Fed's intervention in capital markets, those who plan on making money using a gold old fashioned long-short, 130/30 portfolio distribution, value trading are in the bullseye of central planning. What has happened over the past year, when courtesy of the Chairman's endless market manipulation, is that the worst of the worst stocks, those traditionally shorted by all, the 5x beta crapshoots, were the ones the screamed higher, with State Street and BoNY making it impossible to hold shorts in anything, not to mention repo desks calling in borrow on a daily basis, and killed traditional fundamental analysis, where good companies are purchased, and bad ones are shorted. Congratulations Bernanke: with your reckless destruction of prudent capital allocation decisions, you will put every single "value investors" out of business. Which is why we feel for Whitney, who despite his seemingly constant appearance on CNBC at one point talking his book, returned just 10% net for his fund, compared to the S&P which did about 50% better. Hopefully the redemption requests leave something in their wake. On the other hand, like every single self-respecting asset manager, Tilson blamed the bulk of his underperformance on Netflix. Of course, he is absolutely right: the company is worth exactly nothing, but it will likely take a few years for the momo crew to figure it out. By then, all shorts in the name will be but a memory.

Whitney Tilson Responds To Netflix CEO's Response Of Tilson's Critique

The theater of the macabre goes one further following the just released response by Whitney Tilson to this morning's attempted rebuke of the short Netflix thesis by Reed Hasting. StreetInsider cites Tilson, who told the breaking news site the following: ""I'm glad Reed Hastings took the time to reply to some of the issues we raised. He made a number of good points and helped us -- and other investors -- understand him and his company better. I think a friendly, respectful debate like this is healthy and wish there was more of it." We are now holding our breath until we get Reed's response to this follow up response, to his original response, over just how overvalued his company is. Ironically, we don't really see what the reason for this theatrical acrimony is: after all it is pretty obvious that both Hastings (and the firm's CFO prior to his surprising resignation recently) and Tilson are on the same side of the trade.

Netflix CEO To Whitney Tilson: "Cover Your Short Position. Now"

In what is rapidly becoming a mockery of the investing process, after Netflix recently advised shorts to cover during their investor call, the firm's desperation has hit a new all time low. Today NFLX CEO, Reed Hasting, has responded directly to ongoing attacks by Whitney Tilson that his company is due for a major correction, by posting in financial website Seeking Alpha. Hastings' stunning conclusion: " Whitney lays out a series of potential issues for us: Our CFO’s
recent resignation; threats to the First Sale doctrine for DVDs;
Internet bandwidth costs potentially increasing; declining FCF
conversion; market saturation; weak streaming content; paying more for
streaming content; and increased competition hurting margins. He only
has to be right on one or two of these issues in 2011 for him to make
money on his short of Netflix. Odds are he is wrong on all of them, in my view. Let’s take them one at a time." And while Tilson has indeed suffered major losses so far on this short, we are very confident that his perseverance will pay off. As we noted previously, the major concern facing Netflix is not so much margins (which is a major concern), but cash flow generation. As such, we continue to view the probability of a follow on offering by the company to be very high, as the firm already issued high yield bonds recently and has very little dry powder left under the "indebtedness incurrence" basket.  In the meantime, we can all enjoy the spectacle that is NFLX' defense of its ludicrous 100x+ fwd P/E position.