Globalstar, Inc. (NYSEMKT:GSAT) is up 4% in early market trading today as bulls argue that the Kerrisdale Capital short thesis was meant to scare off individual investors who don’t have the expertise to weigh the arguments over spectrum valuation, Wi-FI congestion, signal strength and more.
“We believe Kerrisdale’s real short thesis was that GSAT had become a Jim Cramer fast money stock, and that Sahm Adrangi could use his social media ‘machine’ to get the word out to short it effectively,” wrote Credit Suisse analyst Dan Wise in an email obtained by ValueWalk. “After all GSAT is a highly speculative binary event stock with misunderstood spectrum as its only asset. Most of that fast money had no idea why the bought the stock, and they sure don’t know why they are selling it now.”
Globalstar, Inc. (NYSEMKT:GSAT)- Credit Suisse rejects Kerrisdale short thesis
One thing that we keep hearing, from Jason Bernstein at Odeon Capital Group yesterday and now from Wise, is that Globalstar, Inc. (NYSEMKT:GSAT) is going to be selling its service directly to companies, so the comparison with ‘free’ Wi-FI doesn’t make sense. Wi-FI is never completely free, someone pays for it, it’s just often provided by cafes, bars, hotels and other businesses as a free service to the end user as a way to differentiate themselves. Similarly, it’s easy to imagine that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) or Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) would be willing to pay for a service that provides free, global Wi-FI to their clients to make products more appealing.
Wise also argues that the software upgrades and FCC certification necessary to make existing devices TLPS-capable is a red herring, because the software upgrades aren’t that expensive and the companies involved (eg Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO)) have plenty of experience working with the FCC. If the consumer demand exists, and Wise believes it will, the bureaucratic hurdles are no greater than for other products that these companies are already bringing to the market.
That leaves two other major parts of the Kerrisdale short thesis to deal with: is Wi-FI really a major problem, and will a migration to 5 GHz leave Globalstar, Inc.’s (NYSEMKT:GSAT) TLPS worthless? Wise argues that 5 GHz is a poor substitute for 2.4 GHz because it falls off faster and is more easily obstructed, making it more expensive than 2.4GHz to cover a given area; he also claims that the move to 5 GHz despite these problems proves that there is excess demand for 2.4 GHz spectrum.
“We believe Kerrisdale’s short thesis to essentially be a collection of half-truths, apples-to-oranges examples and red herrings,” writes Wise.
Globalstar to hold press conference on Thursday
Globalstar, Inc. (NYSEMKT:GSAT) has put out its initial response in a press release that mostly consists of quotes from industry players including FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) saying that Wi-FI congestion is a problem and a 2013 National Cable & Telecommunications Association report saying that 5 GHz spectrum isn’t a good replacement for 2.4 GHz. Globalstar announced that it’s holding a press conference this Thursday to address Kerrisdale Capital’s short thesis in more detail, which will be covered here at ValueWalk.
This article was updated to clarify that the email from Dan Wise was leaked to ValueWalk.