Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Hindenburg takes aim at Jack Dorsey's payments firm Block, shares plunge

Hindenburg takes aim at Jack Dorsey's payments firm Block, shares plunge

Hindenburg Research on Thursday disclosed short positions in Block Inc (SQ.N) and alleged that the payments firm led by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey overstated its user numbers and understated its customer acquisition costs.

Block vowed to fight back, saying it would explore legal action against the short seller for its "factually inaccurate and misleading report" that was "designed to deceive and confuse investors".

"Hindenburg is known for these types of attacks, which are designed solely to allow short sellers to profit from a declined stock price," the payments firm said, adding that it would work with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Block's shares were last down 15% at $61.67, paring some losses after a 22% plunge earlier.

Hindenburg, which was behind a market rout of over $100 billion in India's Adani Group, said in its report that former Block employees estimated that 40% to 75% of accounts they reviewed were fake, involved in fraud, or were additional accounts tied to a single individual.

The move is seen as a challenge to Dorsey, who co-founded Block in 2009 in his San Francisco apartment with the goal to shake up the credit card industry, and is the company's largest shareholder with a stake of around 8%.

The NYU dropout was just until two years ago splitting his time between the payments firm and Twitter, his other venture that went private in 2022 in a $44 billion buyout by Elon Musk that Dorsey supported.

"Our 2-year investigation has concluded that Block has systematically taken advantage of the demographics it claims to be helping," Hindenburg said in a note published on its website.

The report comes at a time when the outlook for the payments industry has been clouded by worries over the strength of consumer spending in the face of elevated levels of inflation and expectations of an economic downturn.

Those concerns triggered a more than 60% slump in Block's shares last year.

Hindenburg said that Block "obfuscates" how many individuals are on the Cash App platform by reporting "misleading transacting active metrics filled with fake and duplicate accounts".

Reuters could not verify the claims raised in the report.

Cash App allows users to transfer money through a mobile application and is touted by the company as an alternative to traditional banking services.

The app had 51 million monthly transacting actives, a 16% year-over-year increase during December 2022, Block said in a fourth-quarter earnings letter.

The short seller added that co-founders Dorsey and James McKelvey collectively sold over $1 billion of stock during the pandemic as the company's share price soared.

Other executives including finance chief Amrita Ahuja and the lead manager for Cash App Brian Grassadonia also dumped millions of dollars in stock, the report added.

"What I am really concerned about is the Cash App, accusations of fraud, multiple accounts, opening accounts and fake names. And it doesn't seem like that would be something that they would allow," said Christopher Brendler, senior analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co.

"(There is) some evidence in the report that this is happening. So, you know, I think that's the most damaging part of the report," he added.

Based on the session's 20% price move, as of 9:55 a.m. ET, short sellers have made over $400 million in paper profit, according to data from financial analytics firm Ortex. Short interest was 27.96 million shares, or 5.21% of free float.

The company's ticker was the top trending on retail investor-focused forum StockTwits.

Block has also taken a hit from the upheaval in the cryptocurrency industry that forms a large chunk of its revenue base.

The company offers point-of-sales systems and an app that allows people to trade cryptocurrency.

Last month, Block said it was "meaningfully slowing" the pace of hiring this year to control costs.

Founded in 2017 by Nathan Anderson, Hindenburg is a forensic financial research firm that analyses equity, credit and derivatives.

Hindenburg invests its own capital and takes short positions against companies. After finding potential wrongdoings, the company usually publishes a report explaining the case and bets against the target company, hoping to make a profit.

Short sellers typically sell borrowed securities and aim to buy these back at a lower price.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
0:00
0:00
Close
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
×