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Archive for the ‘Salvatore Muoio’ Category

MathStar Inc’s (OTC:MATH) board has announced a “possible merger” with a company called Sajan, Inc, presumably the private company discussed in the presentation at the annual meeting. Douglas M. Pihl, MATH’s CEO, has resigned in protest, saying in his resignation letter that he was resigning because of the board’s “rejection of the plan I have presented to restart MathStar based on Video Encoding technology.” Pihl goes on to say:

I do not believe the proposed Sajan acquisition is in the best interest of MathStar shareholders. I do not believe that Sajan, or the advisors hired to do the due diligence, have presented a business plan that warrants committing over $13 million of cash, nearly half of which will not remain in the combined company but will be distributed to the current Sajan shareholders. In addition the newly issued shares will result in nearly a 50% dilution of the equity currently held by MathStar shareholders.

The full text of Pihl’s letter is set out below. We tend to agree with Pihl’s assessment that the Sajan acquisition is a loser for MATH shareholders. On that basis, we’re out at yesterday’s close of $1.20. We initiated the position on December 17 last year at $0.68, which means we’re up 76.5% on an absolute basis. The S&P500 closed at 913.18 when we intiated the position, and closed yesterday at to close yesterday at 932.68, which means we’re up 74.3% on a relative basis.

Post mortem

We started following MATH in December last year (see our post archive here) because it was trading below its net cash value and had two substantial stockholders lobbying management to liquidate. MATH’s board had suspended the company’s operations and had been exploring “strategic alternatives, which could include merger, acquisition, increasing operations in another structure or liquidation.” Two activist investors, Mr. Zachary McAdoo of The Zanett Group and Mr. Salvatore Muoio of S. Muoio & Co., urged MATH’s board to consider liquidation rather than merger, but MATH’s management seem intent on a merger. The liquidation was presented to stockholders on Friday last week, and rejected. Tiberius Capital has a tender offer for MATH at $1.25 per share in cash expiring on July 20. We’ve elected to sell our stock on market rather than tender to Tiberius Capital because there’s no certainty that Tiberius Capital will be successful, and it’s time to get as far away from MATH’s management as humanly possible. While the position didn’t play out as we had hoped, we’re still satisfied with the result.

The company’s press release announcing the merger is set out below:

MathStar Announces Letter of Intent for Possible Merger;

Board Announces Special Committee

HILLSBORO, Ore., July 15, 2009 — MathStar, Inc. (MATH.PK) today announced that it has entered into a non-binding Letter of Intent with Sajan, Inc. regarding a potential merger. Sajan is a leading provider of language translation management solutions. Sajan’s language translation services use advanced process and quality management through their next generation SaaS technology. Sajan’s patent-pending data management and on-demand collaboration and workflow platform create a unique blend of technology and service, resulting in the most advanced and measurable solution available today. Among their clients are several Fortune 500 companies.

MathStar also announced that on July 14, 2009, the Board of Directors appointed a special committee consisting of MathStar’s independent directors, Richard C. Perkins and Benno G. Sand, to negotiate the completion of a definitive merger and ancillary agreements with Sajan. Craig-Hallum Capital Group, LLC is representing MathStar as its investment banker in connection with the proposed transaction.

The Mathstar Board, in conjunction with Craig-Hallum and several independent technology and financial consultants, has conducted extensive due diligence of Sajan; however, entry into definitive merger and ancillary agreements with Sajan is subject to the completion of due diligence, among other customary conditions. Final terms and conditions of the proposed transaction will be disclosed upon any signing of the definitive merger agreement.

Statements in this press release, other than historical information, may be “forward-looking” in nature within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and are subject to various risks, uncertainties and assumptions. These statements are based on management’s current expectations, estimates and projections about MathStar and include, but are not limited to, those set forth in the section of MathStar’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 31, 2009 under the heading “Item 1A. Risk Factors” and in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2009. Except as may be required by law, MathStar undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements in order to reflect events or circumstances that may arise after the date of this release.

The CEO’s resignation letter is set out below:

July 14, 2009

Gentlemen;

In response to your decision today to pursue the Sajan acquisition I hereby tender my resignation as President, CEO and CFO of MathStar and also my position on the Board of Directors, effective immediately. I am disappointed by the actions you took regarding Sajan and by your rejection of the plan I have presented to restart MathStar based on Video Encoding technology.

Further, I do not believe the proposed Sajan acquisition is in the best interest of MathStar shareholders. I do not believe that Sajan, or the advisors hired to do the due diligence, have presented a business plan that warrants committing over $13 million of cash, nearly half of which will not remain in the combined company but will be distributed to the current Sajan shareholders. In addition the newly issued shares will result in nearly a 50% dilution of the equity currently held by MathStar shareholders.

Douglas M. Pihl

[Full Disclosure:  We do not have a holding in MATH. This is neither a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. All information provided believed to be reliable and presented for information purposes only. Do your own research before investing in any security.]

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MathStar Inc (OTC:MATH) has received another merger offer from PureChoice, Inc., this one providing for a $1.04 per share cash payment to the MATH stockholders.

We’ve been following MATH since December last year (see our post archive here) when it was trading at $0.68. We initiated the position because MATH was trading below its net cash value and had two substantial stockholders lobbying management to liquidate. The stock is up 33.8% to $0.91 yesterday, giving it a market capitalization of $8.4M. We estimate MATH’s liquidation value to be around $12.0M or $1.31 per share. That value is predominantly cash and short term investments and doesn’t take into account any further value that the sale of the FPOA technology and intellectual property may yield. The two activist investors, Mr. Zachary McAdoo of The Zanett Group and Mr. Salvatore Muoio of S. Muoio & Co., have been urging MATH’s board to consider liquidation rather than a merger. MATH’s board seems to agree, twice rejecting unsolicited merger proposals from PureChoice, Inc., suspending the company’s operations and exploring “strategic alternatives, which could include merger, acquisition, increasing operations in another structure or liquidation.”

The press release from PureChoice, Inc. (via Earth Times) is as follows:

BURNSVILLE, Minn., May 11 /PRNewswire/ — PureChoice, Inc., a leader in building performance software, has made a merger offer to MathStar, Inc. providing for a $1.04 per share cash payment to the MathStar stockholders. The offer represents a 23 percent premium over Friday, May 8, 2009 market close of $.84 per share.

The merger offer was outlined Monday in a letter to the MathStar board of directors from Bryan Reichel, President and CEO of PureChoice.

The merger offer is contingent upon several factors, including minimum MathStar cash balances and maximum MathStar liabilities at closing, and the absence of certain specified transactions, commitments or other arrangements between January 1, 2009 and the closing date.

We need to see the full terms of the offer, but it seems to be pitched at a large discount to MATH’s liquidation value. We would hope that any merger offer would, at the minimum, reflect MATH’s liquidation value of $12.0M or $1.31 per share. We’ll keep a weather eye on the negotiations.

[Full Disclosure:  We do not have a holding in MATH. This is neither a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. All information provided believed to be reliable and presented for information purposes only. Do your own research before investing in any security.]

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MathStar Inc (OTC:MATH) has filed its 10K for the year ended December 31, 2008.

We’ve been following MATH since December last year (see our post archive here) when it was trading at $0.68. We initiated the position because MATH is a net cash stock with two substantial stockholders lobbying management to liquidate. The stock is up 21.3% to $0.825 yesterday, giving it a market capitalization of $7.6M. We initially estimated MATH’s liquidation value to be $14.4M or $1.57 per share. The balance sheet had around $14M or $1.52 per share in value at December 31. Adjusting for contractual obligations and another quarter of cash burn at say $0.6M per quarter, we now estimate MATH’s liquidation value to be around $12.0M or $1.31 per share. That value is predominantly cash and short term investments and doesn’t take into account any further value that the sale of the FPOA technology and intellectual property may yield. The two activist investors, Mr. Zachary McAdoo of The Zanett Group and Mr. Salvatore Muoio of S. Muoio & Co., have been urging MATH’s board to consider liquidation rather than a merger. MATH’s board seems to agree, twice rejecting unsolicited merger proposals, suspending the company’s operations and exploring “strategic alternatives, which could include merger, acquisition, increasing operations in another structure or liquidation.” From the 10K:

During the three months ended June 30, 2008, we announced a curtailment of operations as our Board evaluated strategic alternatives. Strategic alternatives that are being evaluated by our Board of Directors and management include, but are not limited to, restarting the company; merging with or acquiring another company, including or excluding our intellectual property (IP); increasing operations in another structure; or liquidation. The primary criteria for determining the strategic alternative is to maximize shareholder value, which may or may not include the use of the accumulated net operating losses (NOL). Although we have curtailed operations, we have met all financial obligations with vendors, key suppliers, and strategic partners. We have engaged a third party investment banking firm to explore the sale of intellectual property and patents and potential merger and acquisition alternatives.

The value proposition updated

MATH has rapidly burned cash throughout the year, mainly on research and development. The company has now put a stop to its R&D activities, which has reduced the cash burn significantly from $1.6M in the September quarter to $0.4M in the December quarter. The company’s value rests on its vestigial holding of cash and equivalents (the “Book Value” column shows the assets as they are carried in the financial statements, and the “Liquidating Value” column shows our estimate of the value of the assets in a liquidation):

math-summary-2008-12-31

Off-balance sheet arrangements and contractual obligations

According to MATH’s 10K, it has no off-balance sheet arrangements, but has around $1.4M in non-cancellable commitments for design licenses and operating leases.

Adjusting for the $1.4M in non-cancellable commitments for design licenses and operating leases and another quarter of cash burn at around $0.6M, we estimate the liquidation value to be around $12.0M or $1.31 per share.

Conclusion

At its $0.835 close yesterday, MATH has a market capitalization of just $7.6M. Our updated liquidation valuation is still some 60% higher at $12.0M or $1.31 per share, so we believe that MATH still represents good value. With other potentially valuable assets and Messrs. McAdoo and Muoio pushing the board to liquidate the company, we’re going to maintain our position in MATH.

[Full Disclosure:  We do not have a holding in MATH. This is neither a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. All information provided believed to be reliable and presented for information purposes only. Do your own research before investing in any security.]

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The Zanett Group has increased its stake in MATH to 6.58% according to its most recent Schedule 13D amendment.

We’ve been following MATH since December last year when it was trading at $0.68. We initiated the position because MATH is a net cash stock with two substantial stockholders lobbying management to liquidate. The stock is up 19% to $0.87 yesterday, giving it a market capitalization of $8.0M. We estimate MATH’s liquidation value still to be more than 80% higher at $14.4M or $1.57 per share. That value is predominantly cash and short term investments and doesn’t take into account any further value that the sale of the FPOA technology and intellectual property may yield. The two activist investors, Mr. Zachary McAdoo of The Zanett Group and Mr. Salvatore Muoio of S. Muoio & Co., have been urging MATH’s board to consider liquidation rather than a merger. MATH’s board seems to agree, twice rejecting unsolicited merger proposals, suspending the company’s operations and exploring “strategic alternatives, which could include merger, acquisition, increasing operations in another structure or liquidation.”

The Zanett Group’s most recent share purchases were undertaken between January 22 and February 19 this year at prices between $0.81 and $0.90.

[Full Disclosure: We do not have a holding in MATH. This is neither a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. All information provided believed to be reliable and presented for information purposes only.]

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S. Muoio & Co. has called on MathStar Inc (OTC:MATH) to include in the proxy statement for the 2009 Annual Meeting a vote by shareholders to approve a voluntary liquidation of MATH.

We’ve been following MATH since December last year when it was trading at $0.68 because it was a net cash stock with a substantial stockholder lobbying management to liquidate. The stock is up 19% to $0.81 Friday, giving it a market capitalization of $7.4M. We estimate MATH’s liquidation value still to be around 94% higher at $14.4M or $1.57 per share. That value is predominantly cash and short term investments and doesn’t take into account any further value that the sale of the FPOA technology and intellectual property may yield. Two activist investors, Mr. Salvatore Muoio of S. Muoio & Co. and Mr. Zachary McAdoo of The Zanett Group, have been urging MATH’s board to consider liquidation rather than a merger. MATH’s board seems to agree, twice rejecting unsolicited merger proposals, suspending the company’s operations and exploring “strategic alternatives, which could include merger, acquisition, increasing operations in another structure or liquidation.”

S. Muoio & Co. attached to its most recent schedule 13D notice amendment the following letter to the board of MATH:

February 10, 2009

Mr. Douglas M. Pihl
Chairman of the Board
MathStar, Inc.
19075 NW Tanabourne, Suite 200
Hillsboro, OR 97124

Dear Mr. Pihl,

It has come to our attention that MathStar has timely received a proposal from another shareholder to include in the proxy statement for the 2009 Annual Meeting a vote by shareholders to approve a voluntary liquidation of MathStar.

As we stated in our letter of December 12, 2008, we believe that a prompt liquidation of MathStar is in the best interest of the company and its stakeholders. We also continue to believe that pursuit of a merger or alternative transaction flies in the face of the wishes of many of the company’s owners.

As such, the board of directors must act in good faith and cause the proposal to be put on the ballot for the forthcoming annual meeting of shareholders.

Sincerely,

Salvatore Muoio, C.F.A.
Managing Member

cc: MathStar, Inc. Board of Directors

[Full Disclosure: We do not have a holding in MATH. This is neither a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. All information provided believed to be reliable and presented for information purposes only.]

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The Official Activist Investing Blog has published its list of activist investments for December (the investments with links are to our latest update at the time of this post):

Ticker Company Name Activist Investor
ACLS Axcelis Technologies Inc Sterling Capital
AEPI AEP Industries KSA Capital
ARS Arris Group Shamrock Activist Value fund
ATML Atmel Corp. Microchip Technology
AVGN Avigen Inc Biotechnology Value Fund
BCSB BCSB Bancorp Financial Edge Fund
BIOD Biodel Inc Moab Partners
CAMD California Micro Devices Corp Dialectic Capital Management
CKEC Carmike Cinemas Mark Cuban
CPWM Cost Plus Stephens Investment Management
CRXX CombinatoRX, Incorporated Biotechnology Value Fund
CTO Consolidated Tomoka Land Co Wintergreen Advisers
DANKY Danka Business Systems PLC DCML LLC
DDS Dillard’s Inc. Barington Capital; Clinton Group
DIN DineEquity Inc Southeastern Asset Management
DPS Dr Pepper Snapple Group Trian Fund
DUSA DUSA Pharmaceuticals SRB Management
DVD Dover Motorsports GAMCO
ESIO Electro Scientific Industries Nieremberg Investment Management
FIC Fair Isaac Corp Sandell Asset Management
FSFG First Savings Financial Group Joseph Stilwell
GGP General Growth Properties Pershing Square Capital
GLOB.OB Global Med Technologies Victory Park Capital
HIFN Hifn, Inc Adaptec, Inc
ICGN ICAgen, Inc Xmark Opportunity Partners
INFS InFocus Corp Nery Capital Partners
ITP Intertape Polymer Group KSA Capital Management
JAVA Sun Microsystems Southeastern Asset Management
JTX Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Shamrock
KANA.OB Kana Software KVO Capital Management
KFS Kingsway Financial Services Joseph Stilwell
KONA Kona Grill Mill Road Capital
LAQ The Latin America Equity Fund City of London Investment Management Co
LCAV LCA-Vision Inc. Stephen Joffe
MAG Magnetek Inc Riley Investment Management
MATH.PK Mathstar, Inc Salvatore Muoio; Zannet Opportunity Fund
MGAM Multimedia Games Dolphin Limited Partnership
MGLN Magellan Health Services Shamrock
MOVE Move Inc. Nierenberg Investment Management
MVCO Meadow Valley Corp Carpe Diem Capital
NDD Neuberger Berman Dividend Advantage Fund Western Investment
NTMD Nitromed Inc Deerfield Capital
OFIX Orthofix International Ramius Capital;
OPTV OpenTV Corp. Discovery Equity Partners
ORNG Orange 21 Costa Brava Partnership
PHMD PhotoMedex, Inc. James Sight
PIF Insured Municipal Income Fund Bulldog Investors
PPCO PenWest Pharmaceuticals Perceptive Advisors
PRXI Premier Exhibitions, Inc Sellers Capital
RDC Rowan Companies Steel Partners
RHIE RHI Entertainment Baupost Group
RIVR River Valley Bancorp Davee Thomas
SLRY Salary.com Cannell Capital
SLTC Selectica, Inc Versata
SUG Southern Union Co Sandell Asset Management
SUTM.OB Sun-Times Media Group Inc. K Capital
TIER Tier Technologies Inc Discovery Equity Partners
TLGD Tollgrade Communications Inc Bradford Capital
TMI TM Entertainment & Media Bulldog Investors
TRGL Toreador Resources Nanes Delorme Partners
TRMA Trico Marine Kistefos AS
TXCC TranSwitch Corp Brener International Group
TXI Texas Industries Southeastern Asset Management
WBSN Websense Inc Shamrock
WEDC White Electronic Designs Corp Wynnefield Capital
WOC Wilshire Enterprises Bulldog Investors
WRLS Telular Corp Simcoe Partners

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A new investor has filed a 13D notice in relation to MathStar Inc (OTC:MATH).

When we started following MATH, it had a market capitalization of just $6.2M based on its December 16, 2008 close of $0.68. We estimated its liquidating value to be more than 120% higher at $14.4M or $1.57 per share. The value in liquidation was predominantly cash and short term investments in the amount of $14.8M. The board had largely suspended the company’s operations and was in the process of evaluating its “strategic alternatives, which could include merger, acquisition, increasing operations in another structure or liquidation.”  MATH had twice rejected unsolicited merger proposals and Salvatore Muoio of S. Muoio & Co. LLC had been urging MATH’s board to consider liquidation rather than a merger.

Mr. Zachary McAdoo on behalf of The Zanett Group – the new investor entering the fray at MATH – filed its 13D notice on December 30, 2008 and attached the following letter to the company:

December 30, 2008

Douglas Pihl
Chairman of the Board
Mathstar, Inc.
19075 NW Tanabourne, Suite 200
Hillsboro, OR 97124

Dear Mr. Pihl,

I am writing to express my opinion as a shareholder that we strongly urge the
Board to liquidate Mathstar, Inc. rather than acquire another company.

Sincerely,

Zachary McAdoo, CFA

Short, sweet and to the point. Hopefully management can hear the drum beats calling for liquidation.

MATH is up around 18% since we started following it, but it’s still trading at half its liquidating value and a little more than half its net cash backing, so we’re maintaining our position.

[Disclosure: We do not presently have a holding in MATH. This is neither a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. All information provided believed to be reliable and presented for information purposes only.]

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