Shares of video rental chain Blockbuster (OTC: BLOAQ.PK) are doing their best Mexican jumping bean imitation today, reaching as high as 42% above last Friday's closing price. The catalyst is that Blockbuster is for sale and has a firm $290 million offer on the table. The company wants to get out of bankruptcy and into the arms of a new sugar daddy, and this "stalking horse" bid is meant to kick-start an auction. A stalking horse is a friendly bidder chosen by the company to prevent lowball bids.
If you're a shareholder, congratulations; take the money and run. This is your last chance.
The proposed bid is coming from a consortium of Blockbuster's debtholders. $290 million may sound like a generous bid for a company with a $35 million market cap, especially because Blockbuster has virtually no cash and $939 million in debt.
Whether this opening bid becomes the final price tag or the company catches the eye of another bidder, all the money raised will go straight to the debtors and leave shareholders with absolutely nothing. The Cobalt Group is buying Blockbuster's assets and not its stock. The action changes nothing at all for individual shareholders. It's insanity to bid the price of a guaranteed-worthless stock up (or down) on any news at all, including this.
Blockbuster may or may not come back from the dead. Netflix
Even so, the Ghost of Blockbuster will be a fundamentally different company under entirely new ownership, and the current shares are destined to become worthless. It could happen on April 8, when the company expects to close the stalking horse sale, or it could happen tomorrow if the debtors or the bankruptcy court suddenly lose patience with the lack of progress.
Don't get caught holding this hot potato when it suddenly cools off and dies. It will happen, and it's borderline irresponsible to play casino games with worthless paper.
Forget about Blockbuster. Tom and David Gardner have compiled a list of six stocks that are much more deserving of your attention.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares of Netflix but holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. Amazon.com and Netflix are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.