David Einhorn on Green Mountain Coffee, Vodafone & More: Interview ~ market folly

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

David Einhorn on Green Mountain Coffee, Vodafone & More: Interview

Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn appeared on Bloomberg Television today and talked about his short of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) and his long of Vodafone (VOD), two longstanding positions.  Here are some of the highlights and the video interview is below:

On whether he is still short Green Mountain Coffee:  “Yes. We are still short Green Mountain.  It has been on the toughest things going on in our portfolio this year. The books are over caffeinated, if you would.  The company says that they sell a lot of coffee, there is no doubt they sell a lot of coffee. We do not think they sell anywhere near as much as they say and there are real discrepancies in the accounts. They had an analyst day a few weeks ago and they were asked to explain the numbers, and the CEO’s cavalier response was they do not do straight math and they are not going to get into this now. If you do not get into this on an investor call, when are you going to?” 

“There is a lot of ways for Green Mountain to pan out for us. This year, so far it has not been panning out for us. The competition has been increasing; they are losing market shares in their stores. Their platform has been commoditized. Anybody can make a cakeup. The Supply is now out there. The prices are falling. I think they will miss on the business side form an earnings perspective sometime over the next year. Ultimately they will be commoditized away. In addition, you have the regulatory risk when someone wakes up one day and says these numbers are not what they are represented to be.”

On being big on Vodafone the last three years:  “When we bought it you were getting no credit for their stake in Verizon Wireless now we see that was a very valuable stake. I think $130 billion. I think Vodafone remains pretty attractive because one you strip out the consideration for Verizon, the rest of the European business is at a pretty cheap value.”    

On whether there are opportunities in the U.S. for Vodafone:  “No, I think Vodafone exits from the U.S. if anything it could ultimately be a target for someone like AT&T that wants to get exposure into Europe”    

On whether Vodafone could have held on to Verizon Wireless longer:  “I would give Vodafone an A or an A plus on this negotiation. Verizon took a very aggressive tact with them for a lot of years saying, you are a minority; we are not going to pay you dividends and eventually Verizon needed a dividend so they started paying it but sporadically. They really tried to squeak these guys out. They finally came in the spring. It turned out they could not bridge the great act. Vodafone held out. Verizon came back to the table. They paid a higher price than I think they even would have paid in the spring… Vodafone is not mostly a wireline business. They are mostly cellular in Europe. So you have that wireless component there. When you strip out the Verizon Wireless valuation, you are buying it at two turns of EBITA less than comparable companies. I think it has better prospects better growth and better network than many of its peers.”

Embedded below is the video of David Einhorn's interview with Bloomberg Television:

For more on this manager, we've posted some of Greenlight's recent portfolio activity here.

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