It's been a rough week for Greg Manning Auctions
Last Friday, Barron's published an article (summarized here) in which people questioned lots of things, including how the Afinsa deal works. I questioned it, too, in my piece because shareholders have to make sure they deal with people who look out for their best interests. But since the Barron's article, the stock is down 19.5%, to $11.19 from $13.73 per share.
The Afinsa deal is outlined in the 10-K. I admit it's a bit complicated. That's expected when lawyers get involved to protect the interests of their clients. Making things complicated promotes job security in the esquire business.
Regardless of the complexities, the deal has been good for both parties. The Barron's article failed to point out that Greg Manning Auctions is now a better company via the parenting advantage. That is, Greg Manning is stronger under Afinsa than it was by itself. You can't blame Afinsa for buying Greg Manning at bargain basement prices, helping it get healthy, and extracting the value from it. It's a bit unfair, but who said life was fair.
Needless to say, the article made Greg Manning as mad as a collector receiving a letter with an upside-down airplane stamp postmarked on the envelope. And it responded to the article with counterpoints as heated as an Al Franken-Bill O'Reilly discussion. In addition, Afinsa reiterated that it was following the Berkshire Hathaway
That's all well and good, but the risk is still there. It's probably smaller, but it is still a real concern. I would say it's smaller based on the assertion that both companies are stronger as a result of the deal. Clearly, neither wants the goose that lays the golden eggs to die.
So short interest is up. Analysts are hinting at accounting issues. No one wants to collect stamps and coins anymore. eBay
Fear abounds. Is it time to buy? At less than 10 times next year's earnings and with insiders leading the way, there may be some buried treasure at the garage sale. As always, caveat emptor still applies.
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Fool contributor David Meier does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.