Thursday, July 15, 2010

ADCT Highlights Picking Stocks is Hard

ADCT is a telecom company headquartered within walking distance of where I live, and it was recently purchased by TYCO for $1.25B. I often jog by its sprawling 90 acre headquarters and long noticed that very few people actually worked there. I talked to people who did work there (eg, at my gym), and it always sounded like such people were looking to get out, or were being downsized. They trademark lots of minor innovations, like their OmniReach® FTTX Infrastructure Solutions, which to me highlights that their strategy was built on stupid marketing and legal basis, as opposed to merely providing high quality hardware efficiently.

In sum, they were a perfect short. They were caught up in the internet bubble and had the typical income pattern there, yet even post-2002 they cumulatively lost $315 million. Given the opportunity cost of capital this means they destroyed about half a billion since the post-bubble executive team got in there.

But, their stock price always remained pretty stable, around $10 to $20 (it was split adjusted a while back), recently taken out at $12.5. They were a classic short, in that their business model was pure gimmicks, you look in the company headquarters parking lot and saw no one, people who worked their were dispirited, and true to form, never made money. But, you also would have not made much money shorting them.


michael webster said...

Is there some technical reason that this stock was shorted more often?

Eric Falkenstein said...

it's always been pretty easy to borrow...I was often short it when I was a pm, never worked for me