Thursday, March 5, 2009

Someone Changed Jeffrey Macke's SHLD Article!

On February 27th, Jeffrey Macke of CNBC's Fast Money published an article on Minyanville.com addressing Eddie Lampert's Chairman Letter to the shareholders of Sears Holdings Corporation. In the article Macke made a series of what we can only assume to be (mis)statements. Since the articles publication, I and others posted replies asking Macke to clarify and correct points he made... In addition, I wrote a blog post that was picked up by Seeking Alpha in regard to the inaccuracies. The main one in regard to Lampert being "A man who used his old firm, Goldman Sachs (GS) to plow $5 billion out of Sears and into his personal hedge fund".

Instead of Macke coming out and saying that he was wrong, he (or someone at Minyanville) simply edited the statements out of the article. Thankfully, Google was able to link me up with an archived version of the article on MSN Money Central so that I could make a 'compare and contrast" post. As this experience has shown, I am unable to rely on simply hyper linking to articles that contain information that is highly subject to change... as a result, I printed off both copies of the story, highlighted the changes, scanned, and put them in a picasa folder to keep/preserve them in the pristine digital clarity that they deserve!

The 'Edits' (click for the scanned copy):

#1) CHANGE of "CEO" to "Chairman" in reference to Eddie Lampert's role at SHLD.

#2) DELETION of "This is from a man who effectively cashed out to the tune of $5 billion dollars in January of 2007 with SHLD in the high 170s."

#3) DELETION of "For comparison's sake, in the time since Eddie’s cash out (he put the money in his hedge fund),"

#4) DELETION of "A man who used his old firm, Goldman Sachs (GS) to plow $5 billion out of Sears and into his personal hedge fund isn’t shameless. It’s utterly amoral. Mr. Lampert calls himself a "victim" in the document. The mind boggles at a man who would write such a thing to an audience of Sears holders."

Overall, I think it is awesome that the article was changed; I am guessing it was due to a host of angry emails, posts, articles and the like. It wouldn't be a total shock if Minyanville or Macke got a call from a representative of Lampert telling them to take the (mis)statements down... I am no expert, but it seems that a $5 billion dollar (mis)statement is a pretty big deal and on the verge of slanderous.

As a side note, I would say that my favorite rabble rousing comment was one posted by a guy with the screen name of "Sam C", who stated "Jeff, if you aren't short, you are either stupid or pimped out out by a short seller. Maybe your short seller buys your $5B fake rubber knee pads at kmart, and employs you to spend your time putting in a special order for knee pads with the teenagers at your local kmart after volleyball season is over. "

Classic, truly classic.

I am also planning on holding Macke to the bet that he threw out-"Sam C." and I both accepted: Macke buys dinner if SHLD doubles in price before it goes to the single digits. But don't get me wrong, as I have previously said- all things equal, I hope SHLD goes to $5 bucks a share and that I have to buy dinner... I will sell everything that I own to buy as much SHLD stock as I can (that not only includes my house, but also my SNS; which I deeply value holding on to. Like SHLD, I think is being hammered by short sellers).

The bottom line is that it is unavoidable to make some false statements. When things said that are attacking some one's character, significantly effect a person's investment decisions, or are published on a reputable subscription site (by a guy that is a commentator on CNBC none the less), they should be made with as much caution and verification as possible. As another side note, if anyone at Minyanville is reading this and thinks that they can somehow change either the MSN publication, how Google sees the article, or delete comments from the Minyanville page, don't bother... I have saved screen shots of all things related to this post and the articles.

As always: kind of in jest, kind of in principle...

;-)

-Jeff

Disclosure: Currently no position in SHLD, long SNS.

6 comments:

Mark Perkins said...

haha that's great. You should put this up on valueinvestingnews.com

Mark Perkins said...

I just put it up on Valueinvestingnews.com

Anonymous said...

Put this manipulator in jail

Jeff said...

thanks for posting it for me, Mark!

widemoatinvesting said...

Send the SEC, tap his phones. You don't make $5 billion dollar statements like that "by mistake."

STOCKMANMARC said...

Great article Ragnar!