October 23, 2012

$PVCT.OB: Buyout Rumor? Uh, no.

Most rumors I hear are not remotely close to being true. There is not even a grain of truth in them, which all good rumors typically possess. If interesting and germane, I try to confirm the substance of a good rumor with separate and distinct shareholder groups with whom I communicate (the PVCT "town" is a small one). I solicit feedback from management, too.

An interesting rumor, from several perspectives, is the one I heard today: a certain group of shareholders is interested in taking/will take Provectus private (i.e., a buyout) at $3 per share. Management is aware of the situation.

I am very skeptical for several reasons including but not limited to:
  • I doubt this group or, for that matter, any syndicate or group of existing Provectus shareholders owning a large number of shares can pull this off.
  • You have to wonder if you and I will hear more of this kind of talk, whether out of frustration with management or simply to pump up the share price on helium in order to close or in hopes of closing out a share position at a lesser loss.
  • Give or take the number of shares this group might own, a buyout at $3 would price the company at about $400-450MM. That is a lot of cheese for a group of existing shareholders.
The journey to a buyout begins with several initial steps. Typically, one starts with at least a 5% ownership or thereabouts. Revelation (formerly Osmium) was the last entity (actually, the only entity, not counting Dr. Adams) to file a beneficial ownership greater than 5%. The filing was a passive one. Their investment style/strategy was/is event driven. They are not activist investors. And we have not heard from them in quite a long time.

From a 5% position, a shareholder (or group) could either agitate for change or launch a full blown tender for shares (among other things it or they could do). Unless a buyout group -- whether a cadre of existing shareholders or prospective new ones -- has the real ability to manage the science, regulatory and science communications processes here, among other necessary and needed experience sets to take the company to the end-game, the notion of buying the company for $3 and "flipping it" to Big Pharma is just fanciful.

A more interesting scenario develops if Pfizer or another Big Pharma currently watching the company closely fears a move towards a buyout would forclose the opportunity for them (PFE or another Big Pharma) to buy Provectus. Rumors or hints of a buyout might provoke Pfizer, among others, to act. While you should not hold your breath, it is worth paying a small bit of attention to see if anything more develops.

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