This a crowded short trade which has likely run it course. Here we have a stock with little debt, lots of free cash flow, a dubious bear thesis ("all games going digital") and a short interest 40%. And over the last few weeks, a number of analysts throw in the towel. Stock has had a strong bounce off the lows following Q3 headline over-reaction. Look out shorts!
First of all, there are no WTW bondholders as all of the debt is bank debt. Second, the banks can't demand anything beyond the terms of the credit agreement. Banks can't suddenly demand to be paid back by a borrower that is current on principal and interest payments and not in violation of any borrowing covenants.
Why would they want to clear the debt? cheap money with no covenants and it isn't due for a while.
they already paid off most of the '16 maturity according to press reports this morning. That gives them four years until the bulk of the remaining debt is due in 2020.
how is it market manipulation? It's called transparency. BTW, it was reported in an SEC filing this morning (8-k) because it's a material intra-quarter development. Required by law. You simply don't know what you're talking about.
Lucid: I agree regarding the ads. Stick to the facts with the message rather than getting too creative. Recent ad campaign was clever but ineffective.
the difference is the company has performed so badly in the last three years that it might not be able to service its debt/file for bankruptcy in which case the equity gets wiped out.
you need to look at the enterprise value of WW and not just the the market cap to determine the market's assignment of business value here. WTW EV = Net Debt + Market Cap = $2.4 billion. Since debt gets paid first, the equity is like an option here. All that said, I think the stock is kinda interesting for the reasons you and others have pointed out above.