The whole point of fundamental research or value investing or whatever you want to call it is to get an edge by looking a little deeper than others are looking. This is why you won’t get very far by using stock screeners.
Stock Research on Onverstock.com
We recently published a stock report on the Fundamental Finance Playbook about Overstock.com. The article is a deep dive into the current status of the company’s online retail business. We try to figure out if the business is, in fact, in a turnaround as management claims, or if the company is at risk of running out of cash.
Previously, the management had stated that they were trying to sell the online retail business but so far nothing has materialized. During our research phase we noticed that during the last quarter, consulting fees on the corporate level had increased significantly. By corporate level, we mean not connected to the operations of the online retail business nor the blockchain ventures.
Overstock engaged Guggenheim in 2018 to explore strategic options for the retail business and find possible buyers. If the consulting expenses are mostly in the “Other” business segment and neither in the retail operations nor the tZero operations, it is plausible that Overstock is already in advance negotiations with potential buyers through Guggenheim.
What that indicated to us, was that there was a possibility that Overstock was already working with Guggenheim Securities, the company that Overstock employed to find buyers, on advanced negotiations with possible buyers. These kinds of transactions usually require heavy due diligence, so it would be quite plausible that costs would ramp up like this.
Two Potential Acquirers
A week after we published, Patrick Byrne, Chairman and CEO of Overstock said in an interview with CNN that the company was in negotiations with two potential acquirers. It remains to be seen if anything materializes from this, but it goes to show that sometimes the fundamental facts are buried in the footnotes.