I agree too. I was just revisiting this stock. I owned it in 2006/07, Bought around $40 and sold at $58. I was very lucky not to own it going into 08/09. A very attractive entry point would be 5x EV/EBITDA, which worked out a bit below $20 a few years ago -- but now, that works out at around $10. They have added debt increasing the EV, but the acquisitions haven't added much EBITDA. Clearly they have overpaid for recent acquisitions. An entry point with no margin of safety would be around 10x EV/EBITDA or around $38 -- which I could say is fair value -- so it some 70-80% overpriced.
It could be a good short. However, I think shorting IWO (Russell Growth Index) of which MTN is a small part might be a safer bet. A lot of small-cap growth stocks are overpriced. I'm not a fan of shorting. I just wish everything would get a lot cheaper as there is literally nothing attractive to buy -- stocks or bonds.
Much appreciate your take on the situation. One thing I would say though is Copperfiels/Gotham are not incompetent. They KNOW what they are publishing is complete bunk. It doesn't matter. They have sufficient firepower to drive the stock down themselves.
What is a more important question is how are they hoping to make money? This only works if it scares enough Longs into selling. By now most Longs are wise to their game.
If we assume a hedge fund behind this manipulation then what do they hope to gain? As a no-growth company Ebix are worth about $25. As a 10% grower they are worth about $35 ($70m FCF, 5-yr 10% growth, 3.5% terminal rate, 11% discount rate). The market will eventually realise these prices and therefore at some point the hedge fund need to cover their short position.
My view is that there may be a fraud being perpetrated against the clients of the hedge fund. The hedge fund itself, at best, may come out even. However, the hedge fund managers are front running on the information for personal gain. Anyone that knows when the Seeking Alpha article comes out can use that information to gain.