Earlier today, it was reported that Sodastream International Ltd (NASDAQ:SODA) may be talking with private-equity firms about a deal. Investors reacted very positively, sending shares shooting up initially before they fell back down to end the day about 9% higher than their opening price. But not so fast, says one Seeking Alpha contributor and famous short seller. Copperfield Research says they think “business at SODA is bad.”
How bad is Sodastream’s business?
The research firm said rumors like the one that surfaced today “always seem to occur shortly before bad news.” The group said that it’s entirely possible Sodastream International Ltd (NASDAQ:SODA) will be bought, although they think it’s very unlikely that a strategic buyer will make a deal. They don’t entirely discount private-equity buyers though, despite the company’s problems with cash flow.
The folks with Copperfield said they think the company’s business is just plain bad and then went on to consider just how bad it might be. The report suggested that Sodastream might be considering a buyout of $40 per share, which Copperfield said “seems like a sub-optimal exit” for management who had recently set a goal of $1 billion in revenue by 2016.
Sodastream International Ltd (SODA) Is a buyout really on tap?
The firm noted that Jonah Lloyd, who had been involved with Sodastream International Ltd (NASDAQ:SODA) since its initial public offering left recently and questions whether he would have left if a buyout was forthcoming. Also last month, CEO Daniel Birnbaum filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to report that he was selling $2.6 million worth of the company’s stock. Copperfield questions whether he would have been able to sell if he had known that a buyout was possible and whether he would have actually done it.
In addition, the firm raises questions about Sodastream flavors that are still in retail locations but past their expiration dates. The group asks what a potential buyer would do about them and states that it thinks this is a problem because of the lack of flavor they have. They want to know more about this problem on the company’s call next week.