Posts filed under ‘Uncategorized’

Peerstream Chairman Invests Another $120k + Crypto Windfall + NASDAQ Uplisting

It is our understanding that Peerstream (OTC: PEER) is now (as of June 5) in full compliance with all criteria necessary for an uplisting to the NASDAQ. We will not be surprised to see the announcement of such a move any day now and will be very surprised if this does not occur over the next few weeks. We believe that Groove investors would do well to buy shares in advance of such a move, as we expect the stock to become significantly more liquid and to get much more positive attention from investors when this move has been completed.

We note that Peerstream chairmain of the Board Jason Katz is buying shares, as he filed a Form 4 on May 31st to disclose that he had invested another $120k into PEER shares, taking down 20,000 over the two prior days at prices that averaged about $6 per share. We believe an open market purchase of this size by one who already has over $3 million invested and who knows more than just about anyone else about the future direction of this company speaks volumes about the latent value here.

We also note that the company’s recent deal with ProximaX is already paying off in ways that we did not expect. We knew that the deal provided $5m in cash upfront with another $5-$7m to be realized as the company provides services over the next few quarters. And we thought the additional payment of tokens in the ProximaX ICO would be a six figure event. We were mistaken. As of the first day that the coins were listed on the Kryptono exchange they were changing hands at just over .03 per token, valuing Peerstream’s 216 million tokens at just under $7 million. The deal provides for more token payments of significance going forward in addition to the $5-$7m in additional cash.  Thus, the ProximaX deal has added over $12m in value to Peerstream’s balance sheet over the last few weeks even though the share price has not moved to reflect this 25% increase in the assets of the company and there is significantly more to come over the next few quarters.

June 6, 2018 at 10:38 am Leave a comment

Remark Announces Kankan Rollout Underway

Remark (NASDAQ: MARK) announced yesterday that the company has commenced the roll-out of its Kan Kan Smart Eyes for Retail SAAS AI product. In the announcement it was mentioned that the company has secured agreements to install KanKan Smart Eyes in more than 10,000 stores in Shanghai and sees an addressable market of more than 500,000 retail stores in China and Southeast Asia. Per the release, these “easy to install” AI products give businesses “…greater insight s into their consumer’s behavior and into the businesses’ daily operations”. In addition to the 10,000 stores announced for Shanghai, the release mentioned that Remark’s Kankan was already working to install a more comprehensive data and AI solution in a deal that will see this product installed at 20,000 retail stores in China and Southeast Asia including food stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, super-brand malls and fast food restaurants.

We are pleased to see that the company’s AI products are gaining such traction as the company’s achievement of the 10,000 Shanghai store milestone for its lower end AI solution is an unexpected surprise, at least with regards to its timing. We fully expected the company to hit that number towards the end of the year and into 2019, but reaching that level by June 5 is a huge accomplishment. Not mentioned in the press release, but covered in a presentation at the LD Micro conference is that the company’s technology will eventually be able to offer those stores a solution that could convert their check out procedures to be similar to what Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is testing in Seattle with its “Amazon Go” shops, where consumers merely pick up the items they want and leave with no waiting in line / check out procedure necessary due to the Smart Eyes camera system’s ability to bill the items to the customer’ account. We see the mention of this potential upgrade on the same day as the company announced it now has contracts for an additional 10,000 retail locations as a very bullish indicator of just one of the many ways this company is expecting to create additional value in the near future.

We were also pleased to see that the company filed a new shelf offering after the close, replacing its recently expired shelf. We see this as very bullish in that the company can still raise up to $7.2 million through its arrangement with Aspire and it could do so on essentially any weekday it so chooses. Thus, if the company wanted to raise capital quickly at a price within the current trading range, it could easily tap the Aspire deal. However, the filing of the shelf leads us to believe that the company may be considering a different direction – hopefully like another strategic deal similar to what we saw back in December when CP Group invested $10m at a $12 per share valuation when the stock was trading at $8 per share. If the company were able to complete another placement with a strategic partner at a price substantially higher than the current $5ish price, we believe that would push the stock to a much higher trading range. Plus we do not believe that our top shareholder and CEO (Shing) would allow any more MARK shares to be sold in the $5s. The rapidly growing is worth more than the current per share price of MARK in an acquisition scenario, as is the Sharecare stake and we think yesterday’s announcement suggests that Kankan is likely worth more than either and/or our Sharecare stake. We think Groove investors would do well to add shares here to hold for the long term and expect to see very significant price appreciation in Remark shares over the next few months.

June 6, 2018 at 3:09 am Leave a comment

PEER Reports Q1 2018 + ProximaX Deal

Peerstream (OTCBB: PEER and formerly known as Snap Interactive: STVI) reported Q1 revenues of $5.7mm, a decline of 3.5% from Q4 2017 and a 14.5% decline from Q1 2017. The revenue decline was due to a slowdown in the company’s legacy dating business and the decline outpaced the sequential growth achieved by Peerstream’s video streaming business. Despite the overall decrease in revenue, PEER posted its first EBITDA profit since the AVM merger was completed, reporting $105k in EBITDA. PEER was able to achieve positive EBITDA despite the double digit decline in revenue due to cost savings obtained through merger integration efforts.

We were pleased to see that the company was able to show sequential growth in its streaming business and that the company has been successful in achieving the merger synergies that have allowed for such a significant reduction in the company’s expense structure. More importantly, we are excited to learn of the post quarter-end developments related to the company’s Peerstream Protocol blockchain initiatives where the company’s recently executed ProximaX deal has already generated a payment of $5 million and will likely generated another $2.5-$5m over the next few quarters as various milestones are achieved. Thus, Peerstream this week received almost as much cash as the company earned in revenue in all of Q1 and there remains significant upside in additional revenue to be earned plus the value of a fairly significant stake in the coins of Proximax’s recent ICO, which raised over $30 million.

We believe Peerstream’s deal with ProximaX is a game changer that has been completely overlooked by investors. The deal’s $5 million initial payment raised PEER’s cash position as of today to $8.5 million, plus the deal provides another $2.5-$5 million in payments for achieving future milestones. We believe the ProximaX deal will provide a material boost to Peerstream’s revenue in Q2 and beyond. Perhaps even more importantly, we believe such a contract with a company like ProximaX will give Peerstream an enhanced resume for pursuing deals with other significant players in the emerging blockchain development space.

In summary, we believe that Peerstream’s reduced cost structure plus growth in the company’s core video streaming business will result in the company being cash flow positive for the remainder of 2018.  Additionally, we believe the rapidly emerging growth of the company’s blockchain initiatives could push PEER into its first profitable quarter in 2018.  And last but not least, we see significant latent value in the company’s patent portfolio and would not be surprised to see some developments that could add materially to the company’s cash balances and/or bottom line in the near future.  We believe Groove participants would do well to add PEER to their portfolio and note that the current $5 – $6 trading range does not come close to reflecting the financial impact or marketplace implications of the recent ProximaX or Kochava deals.  We see PEER as being very cheap at any price below $7 and expect that investors at today’s prices will enjoy significant double digit returns over the next few quarters.

May 9, 2018 at 3:06 pm Leave a comment

Update to Focus List

We are removing LMFA from our focus list due to management’s lack of communication with shareholders in the face of events and market action that competent management would address. The recent declines in LMFA’s stock price with no comment or action from management suggests that there may be negative information in the marketplace that has not been officially released by the company and it also suggests that management has little concern for its shareholders. Additionally, with the passing of the 10k filing deadline and no announcement of a shareholder conference call or any indication of an intent to update investors on recent events –  we are now convinced that we may see no departure from the company’s pattern of indifference towards its shareholders in the near future. These issues make it difficult to make a bullish case for LMFA going forward regardless of valuation.

April 3, 2018 at 6:32 pm 1 comment

Remark Holdings Update – Q4 Results Tomorrow Morning

With the largest short interest in Remark company history (3.54m as of Monday afternoon’s most recent NASDAQ report) outstanding, tomorrow’s full year earnings report and conference call should be interesting. Remark management has largely been muzzled over the last few weeks leading up to this report and we will get to hear from CEO Shing Tao for the first time since the company’s initial response to the ridiculous short seller report accused him of trying to steal Kankan while also claiming that Kankan and Remark’s other businesses are “not really there” (do not exist). While the content of that report was clearly ludicrous, the effect it had on Remark’s stock price was very real and the stock still trades in a range 25-30% below the range it traded prior to the short seller report despite very significant good news in the form of the company’s most significant AI deal to date with its CP Group contract to equip over 11,000 7-Eleven shops with Kankan technology.

We expect Kankan’s results and forward guidance to be the key driver of investor sentiment. Kankan is expected to produce approximately $2.7m in Q4 revenue, pushing the full year total to $6m. We are hoping for update on the Q1 revenue trend for Kankan and expect to see sequential growth over Q4 suggestive of a growth trend that will allow the company to achieve its $30m projected revenue run rate. We are also hoping that management will provide more color on the expected revenue implications of recent deals including the 7-Eleven partnership with CP Group.

Remark’s business is expected to show some impact from the tourism disruption following the mass shooting incident that occurred October 1. Management previously indicated an expectation of supplier cancellations in the wake of that tragic event and an impact in the $500k range below their previous estimates. We will be interested to see if Remark’s tourism business has been able to get back on track or if there is still some lagging impact. We believe the Q1 to date trend with the tourism business will be much more important than the Q4 figures with investors focusing on management’s outlook on the company’s ability to achieve its previous guidance of $325m in gross bookings generating $65-$75m in revenue. As for the company’s other businesses including, and Fanstang, we do not believe that the revenue contribution is significant enough to move the needle and we are not sure that these will be discussed on the call.

We believe that Remark in the low $7 range represents a tremendous value for both long term investors and short term traders. We cannot fathom how short sellers will be able to exit their positions without significant losses given the enormity of the outstanding short position and what we expect to be an increasing realization by investors that Remark’s Kankan business alone may be worth more than $10 per share. We believe the ever increasing disconnect between the value of Kankan’s business and Remark’s stock price may ultimately lead management to take steps that will lead to a fuller realization of the value being created there.

March 28, 2018 at 3:31 pm 1 comment

LMFA Short Position at Record 52% of Float

After Friday’s close, LM Funding (NASDAQ: LMFA) filed an 8k announcing the departure of COO Dean Akers.  Given what the filings indicate should have been the “effecting” of the 2m+ share position to Esousa over the last couple of weeks, it appears that the “New York-based Family Office” is already starting to make their presence felt.  We believe this could be the first of many changes coming over the next few weeks and expect to get an update from the company very soon that may shed more light on the “technology-based” upgrade announced with LMFA’s debt exchange announcement last month.

Last week the NASDAQ released its short interest report showing that LM Funding  shares sold short are now at an all time company record 526,504 shares, a whopping 52% of the public float (LMFA Public Float is 1.01m shares). With the recent slowdown in daily average shares traded (for the full trading day on the report day volume was 115,101 shares), it would take more than a full week of trading with all trades being “buy to cover” transactions to zero out this short position. Of course, that would never occur because there are many beyond this community who watch LMFA for signs of life and when they see new buying emerge they will likely add to their position and more importantly, there are momentum traders who watch LMFA who would quickly pile in to take advantage of the tiny float vs. large short position that has clearly evolved over the last few weeks.

Checking with the various brokers this morning we see that there are essentially no shares available to short.  The Ameritrade/TOS/Scottrade platform has zero LMFA available for shorting, Fidelity has zero available and a 125% hard to borrow rate if they were able to locate any and Etrade offers to locate if you are willing to pay a “Hard to Borrow’ rate of 90%.  The “Goto” place to find shares available for hypothecation, ( (Interactive Brokers) could locate a total of 9.000 shares available for shorting, if you are willing to pay a 104.71% borrow rate.  The near impossibility of shorting this stock (other than intra-day naked short sales that must be covered before the close) is not that surprising given that 52% of the tiny public float is already sold short.  What is surprising is that momentum traders do not seem to have discovered this yet.


March 5, 2018 at 2:30 pm 2 comments

LFIN Target or Not, LMFA Shorts May Be Cornered

There have been rumors circulating over the last few days that high flying Longfin (NASDAQ: LFIN) may be about to put its highly appreciated stock to work as acquisition currency to take over LM Funding (NASDAQ: LMFA). On its face, the deal makes some degree of sense. LFIN’s stock valuation of $2.6 billion begs to be put to good use acquiring assets that could help the company generate revenue. LM Funding’s business model is attractive (see investor deck explaining how they make $3 for every $1 invested), highly replicable in markets nationwide if properly capitalized and thus Longfin’s access to capital and technology could allow the business to grow exponentially for years to come. Also, Longfin’s stock traded lower as the market traded higher yesterday and LMFA traded higher on no news and held those gains as the markets sold off later in the day. Thus, the market action for each certainly looked like what we often see with an acquiror / acquiree situation. This deal could certainly happen and there are plenty of reasons why the executives of each should consider making it happen. Is it a work in progress to be annoucned next Monday or just another rumor? We do not know.

What we do know is that LMFA is severely undervalued by at least 50% based on its core operations alone and we think this is happening due to heavy handed action by short sellers, who as of the last NASDAQ report had sold almost 50% of LMFA’s tiny 1.01 million share public float short.  It appears that short sellers have been spreading many distortions about LMFA in hopes of keeping the stock from rising back to a level that might be expected given its debt free prospects. Most recently they have been claiming that Esousa (the NYC Hedge Fund who bought all of LMFA’s long term debt and converted it to stock at $1.78 per share) has sold all of their LMFA stock and left the building. They claim that the most recent 13D/G filings give evidence, because Esousa has not filed a 13D and such a filing is required within 10 days of taking ownership of 5% of more of a company’s outstanding shares. But the reason Esousa has not filed a 13D is because their stake in LMFA could not be effected until the passing of 20 days past the mailing of notice of the issuance of the shares in accordance with NASDAQ RULE 14(c)-2(b). Given that the key “mailing date” of the written notice was January 31, 2018, the VERY EARLIEST the stock placement could be effected would be February 20th (yesterday). You can’t sell shares whose issuance has not been effected yet.  And you don’t file a 13d for 5% ownership if you don’t own those shares yet.  If the earliest possible date Esousa could take ownership of the LMFA shares was February 20 (yesterday) and the stock went up over 5% on the day, we think it is fair to say that Esousa has not sold all of its shares and it did not appear that there was any significant selling. While we can not confirm the specifics of the date that share issuance will be “effected” (in the event it was not on February 20th or 21st) but the market action alone (up over 5% on a down day for the broader markets) leads us to believe that Esousa was not selling shares yesterday.

It appears that Short sellers wanted investors to believe two things:

1) that the 1.01 million share micro-float of LMFA had tripled to over 3 million due to sales of Esousa’s LMFA stake. While a 3 million share public float would still be very small by any measure, it gives shorts much more breathing room than a jaw-droppingly small 1.01 million share public float that can attract investors who might buy it just because they know any uptick in buy side interest with such a small float can lead to very large if not exponential gains. So despite all the postings and noise from the shorts, we believe that LMFA’s public float is still 1.01 million shares.

2) Short sellers also wanted investors to believe that a highly regarded technology investor like Esousa would buy LMFA’s debt, convert it to stock and then dump it immediately. This gives the impression that once inside they took a closer look at the company and thought there was no hope for significant gains. This in turn would cause other investors to lose faith in the company and sell their shares. This is what the shorts need to happen because the float here is so small and the short position so large that they have very little room to maneuver.

The bottom line here – it appears that short sellers are getting more aggressive because they are in a pinch. We do not believe that the public float for LMFA has changed due to the Esousa stake because the filings indicate that the share issuance to Esousa could not be effected before yesterday and therefore we do not believe that they could have sold all of their stock.  Additionally, it is unlikely they would start to do so given that the stock is SO FAR BELOW THEIR CONVERSION PRICE OF $1.78 PER SHARE. Also, Esousa is quite familiar with the potential of buying a very large percentage of a tiny company’s float – see what they did with NETE, where they bought a huge stake and saw the stock go from $3 to $33+ in a very short time frame. Should we believe the short sellers when they try to tell us that Esousa did the same thing with LMFA (where Esousa took an even bigger percentage stake of s smaller company) but now they want to sell that stake at a loss?

We don’t think so. We think Esousa’s getting the stock is only the beginning of the story. We think it is no accident that LMFA recently hinted (through their last press release) of an increased focus on technology (without using the B word). And we think short sellers are insane for risking UNLIMITED LOSSES for a potential 20% takedown. But it appears that is what is happening here. And we think they may be taking on more risk than they realize.  Take a look at the number of shares that are truly available to be traded –

In summary, we think short sellers have been working overtime to try to keep LMFA trading at these levels but the ever shrinking public float may be about to put them in the corner. We think Esousa’s influence as a lead investor in blockchain technology companies could start to cause investors to reassess the potential for LMFA because we know that Esousa bought their stake with a plan to help LMFA take steps that will make their stock worth substantially more than the $1.78 per share that Esousa paid.  We believe the float is now so thin that any catalyst could cause a run on the shares and even no catalyst at all, just simply investors buying enough shares to cause the short sellers to start buying back the half of the float they have sold short.  When we start to hear rumors of buyouts (like the LFIN rumor) we think less about whether its actually going to happen and more about whether it will cause investors to start buying the stock.  With so many shares already taken, the supply of shares to meet any uptick in demand is insufficient (just a few hundred thousand) and we believe an uptick in buy-side interest for any reason could cause LMFA to move substantially higher.

February 22, 2018 at 3:30 am Leave a comment

Short Sellers Knock 40% Off MARK Stock In Two Days With Bogus Claims

  • Wildly inaccurate and misleading article published by short sellers 
  • Released mid-day during the most volatile market session in years
  • Multiple instances of misleading negative headlines but no evidence
  • Author appears to accuse CEO of trying to steal Kankan from shareholders
  • MARK stock now trading at barely over 1/2 the price per share that savvy APAC region acquiror CP Group paid for $10m Remark Shares 2 months ago 

We reviewed the article published Tuesday by a short seller and found it to be full of wildly misleading claims and erroneous statements. We find it difficult to believe that these factual inaccuracies and errors were all based on poor due diligence or misunderstanding of the financial statements. It appears that the author of this report is doing exactly what she is accusing Remark management of doing – making misleading statements to lead investors/traders to false assumptions about the value of this company. We highlight some of what appears to be blatant attempts to deceive below.

The article starts with three sentences, which we discuss in 1,2 and 3 below, followed by a discussion of a few other ridiculous claims –

The article starts with three sentences –“.. No “there” there: Wherever we look, we cannot find a real business behind Remark Holdings. The company changes its business description so quickly that even management struggles to explain. That does not stop them from pushing out press releases that make wild claims for fantastic new technologies to come.”

1) No “there” there: Wherever we look, we cannot find a real business behind Remark Holdings.
It doesn’t take a very deep dive into the filings to see that Remark is a holding company that owns many assets and/or operating businesses including but not limited to, Sharecare, its domain businesses (,,, Fanstang and Kankan. A quick review –

a) – generating approximately $65m-$75m in revenue per Remark’s most recently filed investor update. But the author wrote “At the time of acquisition, reported total bookings of USD 250 mln but no revenue. It still has not reported revenue”. It appears the author’s comments are trying to lead investors to believe that has not reported any revenue since being acquired, which is clearly untrue and verifiable by reading the company’s financials as filed with the SEC or reviewing the company’s investor deck.

b) 5% Sharecare stake – Sharecare is a very real business and we believe that the author is pointing to a bogus $10.2 million annual revenue figure that is likely short by $300 million or more to try to obscure the value of Remark’s Sharecare stake. We believe that the Seeking Alpha article on Sharecare’s value is still on point and that Remark’s 5% stake will prove to be worth over $100 million if Sharecare is acquired and possibly much more if Sharecare goes public.

c) Kankan – The author appears to intentionally try to muddy the water around Remark’s use of the VIE structure that foreign companies often use when setting up operations in China. It is complicated and we believe it is likely that few US investors are familiar with the hoops foreign companies have to jump through to offer services in China. But any suggestion that Kankan and thus Remark Holdings shareholders will not receive the revenue and other economic benefits of Kankan’s AI technologies and products is simply false and any effort to hint at such is misleading regardless whether it is intentional of just ill-informed.

The CP Group is quite familiar with how the VIE structure works as their effective employment of it to own and operate subsidiaries in many verticals has led to $100’s of billions of dollars in revenue for their owners on an annual basis. It should be noted that the CP Group made its $10 million investment in Remark after reviewing the company’s Kankan operations over several months and its chairman specifically mentioned Kankan when commenting on the $10 million investment the company made at $12 per share.

2) The author wrote  “The company changes its business description so quickly that even management struggles to explain.”
We see that the company changed the description in their press releases several times over the last year. It appears this was done as the company developed new products / services it could offer to further monetize its Kankan AI subsidiary’s technology and data. This should not be a surprise, as the company has historically generated the majority of its revenue from its legacy businesses (like and Kankan has gone from generating zero in revenue in 2016 to an expected $8 million in 2017 and an expected $30 million+ in 2018. We think the description should change to incorporate such significant new offerings, particularly when a holding company develops a subsidiary that is growing as rapidly as Kankan.  Regardless, we have spoken with management on multiple occasions, watched them present at conventions and participated on conference calls and management has always done a very good job of explaining what Remark does.   This is another instance of the author making claims that she does not seem to have any way of backing up with examples or any proof of a time when management struggled to explain what they do.

3) The author wrote – “That does not stop them from pushing out press releases that make wild claims for fantastic new technologies to come.”
> We have not found any instances of press releases from Remark making wild claims for fantastic new technologies other than what they own and are now using. The author did not provide any examples or evidence related to this claim.

4) The author wrote – “MARK claims to have developed language-recognition software, web filtration, Big Data analysis of virtually all China’s consumer records, and 3D face recognition, all on a historical total of USD 2.8 mln in R&D costs. “
>We could not find any evidence of MARK management making such claims and wonder why the author did not provide links to filings or press releases where MARK claims to have Big Data analysis of virtually all of China’s consumer records or where MARK claims to have spent $2.8m TOTAL for the development of Kankan.  Again, the author is referencing things she says management has claimed, which should allow for links to press releases, filings, conference call transcripts, etc. but provides none.  Our review of these things has not turned up any evidence to support these claims from the short seller.

5) The author did not substantiate with a link to a filing or press release where Remark management “claims to be a major player in credit checks” 
>We are aware of a press releases that announce deals with several major banks but management has stated publicly that these deals represent less than a fraction of one percent of consumer lending in the Chinese market. We believe that readers of the short seller’s report are likely to believe that Remark management actually “claims to be a major player in credit checks” when in fact they do not. Again, we believe this kind of thing should be easy to prove with links to press releases, filings or conference call transcripts if it were true, but it appears that it is not true so again there is nothing to support this claim from the short seller.

6) The author wrote – Vaulting the firewall: “MARK management says that it offers international advertisers the opportunity to avoid China’s firewall controls on content.”
>The author states this, then provides as evidence only a quote from Remark’s CEO that says nothing remotely like that. We could not find where MARK management has claimed to “offer international advertisers the opportunity to avoid China’s firewall controls on content”. We note that the author did not provide a link or any other evidence of MARK management making such a claim and we could find none.

7) The author claimed “The real driver behind share appreciation seems to be that management is looking to cash in on options.” Somehow in her deep due diligence process the author failed to discover that the CEO of Remark owns (if all his options are included) close to 30% of the company’s stock and he has not sold any of them.

8) Patents – in our experience it is often difficult to find patents under a company name, as it is usually more fruitful to search by the name of the original developer. Also, the patent approval process often takes years. Given the uncertainty of getting pending patent applications actually granted and the time-frame involved, we find it difficult to ascribe value to them at this point in time and seriously doubt that any Remark investors bought stock based on some perceived value of its patents. We did not ascribe any  value to Remark’s existing patents or the pending patents in our due diligence reports because we believe the value of work-in-progress patents is too difficult to ascertain. The author seems to imply here that Remark is not actually working towards getting patents granted or that investors are ascribing too much value to the Remark’s intellectual property. We think the author is wrong on both counts.

9) Under “Nothing Owned” the author goes beyond the previous attempts to make it appear that MARK shareholders will not get the benefit of Kankan ownership.  She boldly claims that our CEO Tao Shing is trying to “seize without disclosure what legal control of KanKan Remark shareholders may have” – it appears that she is accusing our CEO of trying to steal Kankan from shareholders.  Not only would such a claim be beyond ludicrous generally, but it would also highlight another gaping hole in the author’s due diligence as it appears she is unaware that the CEO is by a very large margin the largest shareholder with ownership of just under 30% of outstanding shares.   So the key takeaway from this report is that the author has discovered that our CEO is trying to steal Kankan from himself? 

Another “smoking gun” the author seems to think she has uncovered relates to the entity (Bonet) setup in China that all Kankan revenue flows through. The author wrote “We obtained financial records for Bonet for the years 2015 and 2016. Bonet should be collecting all Remark’s China revenue. But the company records show that it had no revenue in either year.” We hope the author did not go to too much trouble to obtain those records because the SEC filings and conference call statements from management made it crystal clear that Kankan did not start to earn revenue until 2017. While this part of the article was kind of difficult to follow, to summarize it all here we believe that the author was trying to make it appear that Remark Holdings investors will not receive the benefit of Kankan’s operations.

10) The author stated that the company has $35.5m in debts and her review of the financials suggested that there was no way to repay it. Surprisingly, it seems the author was not aware of the cash Remark has in the bank or the recent $10m cash infusion from CP Group. Our review of the company’s last 10Q plus the publicly announced deals that have happened since the end of that quarter lead us believe Remark will report it ended Q4 with almost enough cash to pay off the debt in its entirety, though we believe they will likely pay down only a portion of it and use their much improved financial condition to get a better long term debt arrangement.

11) The author tried to throw shade at Remark’s unique arrangement with Aspire Capital that allowed the company to “put” shares to Aspire based on market prices when it needed liquidity. The author presented it in such a way as to lead investors to believe that the company is still selling stock to Aspire for less than $4.50 per share. While this did occur back when the stock was trading for less than $4.50 per share, that is not happening now. The author may not have intended to give that impression though, it could have just been another instance where she did not understand the filings.

12) In the section titled “Snake oil, Vegas, and bikinis” the author lists several Remark acquisitions from the past five years (,, Hotelmobi, etc.) and uses the distressed financials of each of those companies before they were acquired and seems to be trying to suggest that buying such companies somehow allowed “…executives to make money form the financial engineering of the deal itself, while shareholders lose” but did not give one single item of evidence to support such a claim.

In summary, we believe the report published yesterday is a seriously flawed piece that should be viewed for what it is – an attempt by a short seller to bring a company’s stock down. The timing was perfect for the scheme given the broader market weakness and it worked to drive the stock down to levels that essentially value the company’s fastest growing and arguably most valuable asset (Kankan) at zero. We note that comparable valuation metrics used for similarly situated companies operating in China would value Remark’s Kankan holding to be worth much more than the company’s entire $178 million market cap. We note further that the company’s other assets (, Sharecare stake, domain businesses, etc.) combined are likely worth  more per share than the current $6.50 range where the stock has been trading. Investors and traders have today what we think will be a very short lived opportunity – the chance to buy shares of Remark Holdings at a price that is less than half the intrinsic value of the company and close to half of what one of the largest and most sophisticated acquriors in the APAC region paid ($12 per share) for $10 million worth of Remark shares less than two months ago. The only material happenings with Remark since CP Group completed its due diligence and paid $12 per share are:

  1. New contract with Bank of China for Fintech product
  2. New contracts with  CITIC Bank (which was formerly known as China International Trust Investment Corporation), Industrial Bank, Guangdong Development Bank and China Minsheng Bank for Fintech product
  3. New contract with China Mobile’s Internet of Things subsidiary  as its AI-solution partner for facial recognition and verification technology
  4. New contract with Beijing Hualian Group, one of China’s largest retailers, as its data and AI solution partner
  5. New contract with Shanghai Open University to provide an AI-based automatic video indexing and editing product—KanKan Media Box—as its online class video-management platform.

February 8, 2018 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

The Opportunity to Buy Remark Holdings On the Cheap

We see a tremendous opportunity in shares of Remark Holdings (NASDAQ: MARK) today, as broader market weakness and what appears to be a piling on of opportunistic short sellers have pushed MARK shares down over 30% the last two weeks without any negative company or industry news. The shorts’ aggressive tactics have pushed the shares so far today that they just triggered NASDAQ’s “uptick rule” for the day and MARK shares are trading well below the levels they traded prior to the company’s most recent update revealing the company’s new Fintech product that had led to multi-million dollar contracts with three large banks in China. We see Kankan’s Fintech division as likely worth significantly more than $10 per Remark share based on its existing products and management has indicated that we should see more new offerings in the near future.

While short sellers and other speculators have tried to use unsubstantiated accusations and false innuendo to spook Remark investors, we think holders of MARK shares would do well to take a hard look at the CP Group’s investment in Remark shares last month. CP Group is arguably one of the savviest and most opportunistic acquiror’s in the history of Chinese commerce and you can be sure that their due diligence process is significantly more rigorous than anything an individual investor or even what most institutional investors could put forth. They paid $12 per MARK share to take down $10 million worth of Remark shares. CP Group did this before the stock had ever traded that high and they did it knowing that they would have to hold those shares for at least a year before they could sell them. CP Group made this investment because they know that by December of 2018, the stock will be worth substantially more than the $12 they paid to acquire them. Remark shares are worth much more than $12 per share today and we believe they will be worth substantially more in the near future.  Remark Holdings’ shares are dirt cheap below $10 and today’s trading is offering an opportunity that may not be around very long.

January 30, 2018 at 11:37 am 2 comments

Is LMFA About To Go Blockchain?

  • Much chatter about LMFA Pivot to Blockchain
  • Debt for Equity Swap Made Blockchain Investor Esousa a Top Shareholder
  • Esousa Became Top NETE Holder In Months Prior to NETE’s Blockchain Pivot
  • Company Intro In Wednesday’s PR Suggests New Technology Focus
  • Stock Trading Unusually High Volume
  • LMFA Has Tiny Public Float of 1 Million Shares w/ Nearly Half Sold Short

There has been significant chatter recently about LMFA and whether the company might be preparing to pursue blockchain initiatives.  We have done a very deep dive investigating this question, doing everything from reaching out to management to reviewing every message board post, Tweet, Twit and financial article we could find over the last few months that mentions LMFA.

We found quite a few recent mentions of LMFA with a blockchain angle. What we have found can be broken down into two distinct categories:

1) Talk that LMFA is going blockchain in a hard pivot – like RIOT Blockchain (NASDAQ: RIOT) or Long Blockchain (NASDAQ: LBCC), this rumor has LMFA chucking its existing business and starting to pursue some blockchain based business model. It appears that there were rumors of such a move by LMFA back in November and the stock rose from below $2 to $6.65. The stock gave it all back as days went by with no announcement of such a change from the company and no corporate action that would indicate such a pivot might be in the works.

2) More recently there has been chatter about LMFA taking its proprietary software and tweaking it to work with distributed ledger technology (blockchain) to improve several broken real estate transaction processes (for example marking the short sale process more transparent, secure and transformed to a smoother process generally). This would be made available to condo associations and banks, ostensibly opening up the company’s current business to tens of thousands of new customers, potentially growing the business exponentially.

#1 LMFA is arguably a better prospect for a #1 than the several who have done that very thing (see the chart below). It has a much smaller number of publicly held shares than all the others and it has few shares outstanding than all but one. Additionally, the current market value of all publicly traded shares is at a ridiculously cheap sub $2m price tag. Looking at it from this perspective, a hard pivot doesn’t seem that far-fetched.

#2 This talk was interesting in that it seemed reasonable that a small, conservatively run company might start a blockchain initiative like this to build its existing business.

While we have no first hand knowledge of the company moving to do either #1 or #2 above, we did reach out to the company for comment twice over the past 10 days and received no reply. Additionally, we found a number of things that might lead a reasonable person to believe that this company might very well be on the verge of pursuing blockchain initiatives –

1)  NYC based Esousa Holdings LLC, which is known for investing in blockchain pivots acquired all LMFA long term debt outstanding and converted to equity over the last few weeks.

2) Esousa acquired a similar equity stake in Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE) in the months prior to their pivot to blockchain technology in December.

3) NETE is very simliar to LMFA – FL based, Nasdaq listed company with market cap around $10m and float of < 4 million shares.

4) NETE pivot announcement pushed stock from $4 range to $33+ before settling into trading range around $10.

5) The “Master Exchange” to convert LMFA debt to equity was scheduled to price the stock based on formula related to trading price through February 11 (60 days after start date) but Esousa elected to have that changed from 60 to just 15 days less than a week after seeing the pivot announcement push NETE from $4 range to $33+.

6) Company has been unusually silent. We reached out to the company twice over the last 10 days and the company did not respond. This leads us to believe they could be working on something big that they are not quite ready to talk about.

7) The company’s Wednesday press release announcing the Master Exchange Agreement’s completion.  Did you notice that the company’s press release intro line from its prior releases read –
“LM Funding America, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, is a specialty finance company…”

But as of the closing of the deal that made Esousa (the blockchain pivot investor) one of the top shareholders, that intro line now reads

“LM Funding America, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, is a technology-based specialty finance company”.  A small step, but we have to ask what has changed or is changing that makes the company add “technolgy-based” to their intro line?

8) LMFA’s capital structure, status as one of smallest Nasdaq listed market caps available, small number of shares outstanding and tiny public float make it one of the best prospects for a pivot – even cleaner than some of the recent high profile blockchain pivots (RIOT, Long Blockchain, Netease, etc.).

In summary, we think LMFA is tremendously undervalued and possibly on the verge of a pivot that would bring much more attention to the LMFA story. We think the stock is undervalued whether that occurs or not, but if it does we could see the stock moving much higher in a very short time frame due to the limited number of shares that are in the public float to meet a significant uptick in demand. LMFA’s public float (1.01 million shares) is a little less than 1/2 the size of Net Elements’ (NETE) public float, less than 1/4 the size of Long Blockchain’s (NASDAQ: LBCC) public float and less than 1/6th the size of Riot Blockchain’s (NASDAQ: RIOT) float.

Each of these companies saw a huge spike in share buying and prices following their pivot and each had significantly more shares than LMFA to meet that demand. Adding to the share supply shortage is the fact that nearly 1/2 of LMFA’s 1 million share float is already sold short.. These short positions could be subject to forced buy-ins if LMFA surges in value similar to what we saw with NETE, LBCC or RIOT, meaning that brokers would be aggressively bidding to buy shares to cover those positions, battling traders and investors who are buying to establish a long position. If this “perfect storm” of buying emerges LMFA stock could surge to levels few could contemplate in any normalized trading scenario, in which case those investors who buy LMFA shares at current levels could potentially earn very significant double or even triple digit returns.

January 26, 2018 at 3:45 am Leave a comment

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