onsdag 22 augusti 2012

Silvercorp förlorar stämningen mot shortarna

Jag är kluven, det är viktigt att det är fritt fram att kritiskt granska företagen utan att riskera hämnd från en aktör med mycket större ekonomiska resurser. Men det är också viktigt att kursmanipulation förhindras. (När man skriver negativt om ett bolag så tenderar det väcka enormt starka känslor vilket jag märker enstaka exempel på men väljer strunta i därför att jag väl minns hur jag tidigare fick kritik för att jag inte uttryckte mig tydligare när jag började befara att Orvana började få problem. Jag har därför bestämt mig för att vara tydlig i fall som Aurcana även om det riskerar reta någon som för tillfället äger aktien)

Vad domstolen slagit fast tycks vara att short hedgefonden uppträtt korrekt och att det ligger ett ansvar på läsarna att själva studera fakta från alla håll och fatta egna beslut. Känns inte helt fel i mina ögon. Problemet är väl egentligen att många placerare inte klarar av att processa information men för det har man ju analytiker och journalister. Det kan ju tilläggas att shortarna hade fel i sak i fallet Silvercorp.

Jag själv har aldrig någonsin shortat en enskild aktie om det nu är någon som undrar. Ibland måste jag dock säga att jag saknat möjligheten. Just att kunna välja att balansera säg ett guldbolag som man tycker är bra med short av ett man tycker är dåligt skulle vara ett intressant sätt att få bolagsexponering men samtidigt försöka komma bort från den separata marknadsrisken.

Silvercorp's defamation claims dismissed in New York
2012-08-17 19:52 ET - Street Wire
by Mike Caswell
New York Judge Carol Edmead has dismissed Silvercorp Metals Inc.'s libel claims against hedge fund manager Anthion Management LLC and the short-seller known as Alfred Little. In an order released on Friday, Aug. 17, the judge has ruled that a reasonable reader would have understood that statements by Anthion accusing Silvercorp of accounting misdeeds simply reflected an opinion, and were not stated as facts. The tone of the statements, in which Anthion referred to a "potential" $1.3-billion accounting fraud and its "belief" that Silvercorp was a "massive accounting fraud," would have left a reader with no doubt the statements merely reflected its views, which is a valid defence in defamation law.

The decision is a loss for Silvercorp, which had argued that Anthion's information was entirely false. Anthion had written an anonymous letter to regulators and reporters which stated, among other things, that Silvercorp's financial statements filed in North America were substantially different from those filed in China. The letter, which was later published on the website alfredlittle.com, was part of a "short-and-distort" scheme, Silvercorp said. The aim of the scheme was to drive the company's price down and profit from the decline. The suit had sought damages of as much as $100-million, citing the "significant reputational and economic harm" Silvercorp suffered. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.)

Anthion, in a motion to have the suit dismissed, argued that it was expressing its opinion and said it had backed up its statements with a detailed report setting out the facts that led to that opinion. It also pointed out that it had disclosed its short position, which readers should have seen as a clear signal that Anthion's work was an expression of its views.
Judge Edmead, agreed, finding that Anthion's statements were constitutionally protected opinion. She said the tone adopted by Anthion throughout the letter clearly indicated the writer was conveying his views. The subject line stated "Potential" $1.3-billion accounting fraud, and other similar wordings were found throughout the letter, including one sentence that read, "In our opinion, the writing is on the wall."

Also critical to Anthion's defence, according to Judge Edmead, is the fact that it attached all of the filings from which it gleaned its information. Readers had the opportunity to review the underlying documents and form their own conclusions. The attached research contained a disclaimer which specifically advised readers to "do your own research and due diligence." It was clear that Anthion's purpose was to invite readers to conduct an independent investigation into the purported financial misrepresentations, the judge found.

Moreover, a reasonable reader would have had to consider that the letter was sent anonymously by someone who had disclosed a short position in the company. In such a context, the letter would have to be treated as an expression of the writer's views, Judge Edmead ruled.

The judge recognized that her findings could have undesirable effects on the stock market, acting as a "green light to those who could use this kind of vehicle to manipulate the market." However, "the Court is constrained to conclude that the challenged statements fail to support a claim for defamation," the decision reads.

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