Monday, March 30, 2009

Covering the Ricks short

Several months ago I put a short on Rick’s Cabaret – a listed strip club owner with a private jet.  The code of ethics covered use of the private jet.

I wondered what executives of a listed jiggly joint could do with a private jet that breaches their (rather narrowly written) code of ethics.  (The original post is here.)  

Anyway Ricks still looks like it will fail due to unrefinanceable debt – but the stock has been hammered and I covered recently.  

Not worth mentioning because the position was so small as to be for comedy value only.  [Also might make a visit tax deductible!  Stock research of course…  Just kidding – I never went.]

The old saying about Wall Street is that when the tide goes out you see who is swimming naked.  Nobody much swims in New York any more.  But boy do they dance.

Now the News Corp "Paper of Record" (The New York Post) reports former Wall Street analysts are jiggling at Ricks.  (See Axed Gals take Pole Positions.)  

Slogan for the 21st Century: When the tide goes out you get to see who is dancing naked.  

Come to think of it - not a great slogan.  Can you imagine what Sandy Weill or Dick Fuld look like?  


Also - before Wall Street gets high-and-mighty about this - the former Wall Street Analyst notes that the strip joint is run better than her former Wall Street firm (Morgan Stanley) and that the level of sexual harrassment is lower.  

Wall Street has much to be ashamed of - and not all of it is financial.  

Two days later this was added:

PPS.  It appears the New York Post story was false.  I was inclined to believe it because I am naturally short RICKS and the story was positive for Ricks.  

General rule as a stock picker: take seriously stories that are against your position - and not seriously stories that are in favour of your position.

General rule as a blogger or journo.  Believe nothing.

My bad.

PPPS:  I still think that Ricks can't refinance its debt.  But at this market cap I am not interested in staying short.  Ricks will go to zero though.


Anonymous said...

John, do you even believe a word of the NY Post article?

John Hempton said...

I do not find the NYP story very surprising. I have however looked for reference to the gal (false name perhaps) at Morgan Stanley - and have found none.

That worries me little. So maybe the story is false.

However I have had some experience of the Post before and I found the stories salacious, biased, but factually accurate. Just like a good tabloid.

There was a story in the WSJ about a journo who went from the WSJ to running a strip joint. Nobody found that surprising.

The WSJ just wrote up the story to not be salacious. Which I think speaks well for the Post.


John Hempton said...

I am a stock investor. I am either short or neutral RICKS.

I gone to neutral.

The story is VERY positive for something I want to be short.

It pays me to believe.


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