With everything that is happening concerning Gamestop (GME), it behooves us to look back and see that what is happening now really isn’t a new concept or tactic. This blog will review how some hedge funds bankrupt companies and the tactics they often use to make money.
First of all, let me give credit to the origin for this post: Click Here.
However, let me try to boil it down for you all.
Anatomy Of A Short Attack
Abusive shorting are not random acts of a renegade hedge funds, but rather a coordinated business plan that is carried out by a collusive consortium of hedge funds and prime brokers, with help from their friends at the DTC and major clearinghouses. Potential target companies are identified, analyzed and prioritized. The attack is planned to its most minute detail.
The plan consists of taking a large short position, then crushing the stock price, and, if possible, putting the company into bankruptcy. Bankrupting the company is a short homerun because they never have to buy real shares to cover and they don’t pay taxes on the ill-gotten gain.
When it is time to drive the stock price down, a blitzkrieg is unleashed against the company by a cabal of short hedge funds and prime brokers. The playbook is very similar from attack to attack, and the participating prime brokers and lead shorts are fairly consistent as well.
Typical tactics include the following:
Flooding the offer side of the board
Ultimately the price of a stock is found at the balance point where supply (offer) and demand (bid) for the shares find equilibrium. This equation happens every day for every stock traded. On days when more people want to buy than want to sell, the price goes up, and, conversely, when shares offered for sale exceed the demand, the price goes down.
The shorts manipulate the laws of supply and demand by flooding the offer side with counterfeit shares. They will do what has been called a short down ladder. It works as follows: Short A will sell a counterfeit share at $10. Short B will purchase that counterfeit share covering a previously open position. Short B will then offer a short (counterfeit) share at $9. Short A will hit that offer, or short B will come down and hit Short A’s $9 bid. Short A buys the share for $9, covering his open $10 short and booking a $1 profit.
By repeating this process the shorts can put the stock price in a downward spiral. If there happens to be significant long buying, then the shorts draw from their reserve of “strategic fails-to-deliver” and flood the market with an avalanche of counterfeit shares that overwhelm the buy side demand. Attack days routinely see eighty percent or more of the shares offered for sale as counterfeit. Company news days are frequently attack days since the news will “mask” the extraordinary high volume. It doesn’t matter whether it is good news or bad news.
The shorts, in order to realize their profit, must ultimately put the victim into bankruptcy or obtain shares at a price much cheaper than what they shorted at. These shares come from the investing public who panics and sells into the manipulation. Panic is induced with assistance from the financial media.
The shorts have “friendly” reporters with the Dow Jones News Agency, the Wall Street Journal, Barrons, the New York Times, Gannett Publications (USA Today and the Arizona Republic), CNBC and others. The common thread: A number of the “friendly” reporters worked for The Street.com, an Internet advisory service that short hedge-fund managers David Rocker and Jim Cramer owned. This alumni association supported the short attack by producing slanted, libelous, innuendo laden stories that disparaged the company, as it was being crashed.
Jim Cramer, in a video-taped interview with The Street.com, best described the media function:
When (shorting) … The hedge fund mode is to not do anything remotely truthful, because the truth is so against your view, (so the hedge funds) create a new ‘truth’ that is development of the fiction… you hit the brokerage houses with a series of orders (a short down ladder that pushes the price down), then we go to the press. You have a vicious cycle down – it’s a pretty good game.
This interview, which is more like a confession, was never supposed to get on the air; however, it somehow ended up on YouTube. Cramer and The Street.com have made repeated efforts, with some success, to get it taken off of YouTube.
Pulling margin from long customers –
The clearinghouses and broker dealers who finance margin accounts will suddenly pull all long margin availability, citing very transparent reasons for the abrupt change in lending policy. This causes a flood of margin selling, which further drives the stock price down and gets the shorts the cheap long shares that they need to cover. (Click here for more on Pulling Margin).
To learn more go to http://counterfeitingstock.com/CS2.0/CounterfeitingStock.html
The article also describes many more tactics but these are some of the main ones that we have already seen that show how hedge funds bankrupt companies.