If you're looking for fresh business news, today's column may not be for you.
Today, I'm going to reheat some old news about manufactured-home builder Nobility Homes
On Tuesday, he repeated this advice, adding that plans have progressed to the point where Nobility has now retained private investment banking firm Savvian Advisors to "explore strategic alternatives" for the firm -- corporate-speak that usually means the firm is soon to be sold or taken private. Why pay special attention to what is essentially a reiteration of old news? Two reasons.
Small fish in a dangerous pond
It's not easy being a small company competing against larger rivals, and Nobility competes with some pretty big players in the homebuilding industry. It has just $61 million in annual sales, so rivals like Palm Harbor
To add auditing to injury, though, as a small company, Nobility suffers especially from the additional costs imposed on all public companies by Sarbanes-Oxley. For a couple of years now, we've been tracking a small but noticeable wave of companies retreating from the public markets into private ownership to avoid SOX's costs. Nobility shows that this trend is still alive and well today.
And the fly-fishermen who hunt them
The other lesson we can draw from Nobility derives from its stock chart. On June 7, the day before it announced earnings, Nobility shares could be had for $28 and change. By June 9, the day after the company suggested it might soon sell out for a premium, the stock had risen 7% in anticipation of the premium. Today, four months closer to the anticipated sale, and after an announcement suggesting that events are indeed progressing towards a sale, the stock sells for . less than $27.
Can there be any better illustration of investors' short-term thinking? Nothing at all has changed for the worse at Nobility; on the contrary, investors who liked the company as a buyout candidate in June should like it even more today. And yet the price now sits lower than it did when the "strategic alternatives" announcement was first made. Whether this is because Nobility was overpriced in June, or because it's undervalued today, one thing is clear: Investors have the attention span of fruit flies.
Not all companies hate SOX, however. On the contrary, Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick Resources Global
For further Foolishness:
Rich isn't the only Fool with an interest in Nobility. Read Tim Beyers' thoughts on the company - as well as similarly low-priced businesses like Stock Advisor selection Cemex and Income Investor pick Posco -- in last year's column: "A Stock for Scrooge."