Boulder Brands, A Mario Gabelli Pitch, Down on Fraud Accusation

Boulder Brands, A Mario Gabelli Pitch, Down on Fraud Accusation

Boulder Brands Inc (NASDAQ:BDBD) stock fell by more than 12 percent in trading today as one analyst’s report stated that the company was manipulating its financial results. The report came from Prescience Point, and calculated that Boulder could be worth as little as 30 percent of yesterday’s price, if they’re right about the manipulation.

Boulder Brands, A Mario Gabelli Pitch, Down on Fraud Accusation

The accusations made in the report suggested that Boulder Brands had manipulated its stock price and hidden key details from investors by repeatedly changing its accounting practices and its disclosure language. The report went on to say that Boulder Brands had a history of over-promising and under-delivering to investors.

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In January 2013 at Baron’s round table, Mario Gabelli listed his top ten stocks of 2013. Among them was Boulder Brands Inc (NASDAQ:BDBD). The fall in the price of the stock today. Could the revered investor be in trouble on that bet? Gabelli Funds Llc showed holdings of 732,000 shares at the end of 2012. That holding was worth $9,442,800.

Based on today’s price, and presuming that Gabelli has not changed his holding in the company, that stake has lost around $1.8 million. Boulder Brands shares have lost a total of 17 percent of their value since the start of 2013.

When Gabelli listed Boulder Brands as one of his top 2013 picks, he said that the company had good leadership, a solid brand portfolio, and was entering a phase in which costs should diminish and earnings should rise. If the accusations about the firm’s accounting are true, Gabelli could be regretting that those remarks.

A $1.8 million loss will mean little to Gabelli. The fund manager had close to $15 billion in assets at the end of 2012. Assuming that Gabelli didn’t decide to expand his holdings in Boulder Brands Inc (NASDAQ:BDBD) in the opening weeks of the new year, he will be insulated from most of the issues associated with it, even if the entire value of the stock was wiped out.

A bigger loss to Mario Gabelli, if the accounting irregularities are illicit,  is probably the premium he expected from the growth in the company’s share price, and the blow to his reputation that listing a fraudulent company on his top ten for the year will bring.

Gabelli and his analysts will, no doubt, be looking over the firm’s books today.

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