Lots of Q4 activity pointing to massive Q4 write-offs:
- Completion of WMS acquisition, with corresponding legal and corporate finance expenses; not cheap
- Beginning of WMS/SGMS integration, lots of redundancy to eliminate; write-offs of worthless intangibles
- Termination of ALW, MC and others; not cheap
- Installation of interim CEO; time to eliminate ALW's bad investments and other errors; now or never
- Search for permanent CEO (?) and other WMS/SGMS management shuffling
- All the "non-recurring" year-end write-offs that SGMS seems to always have from its poor performing business units.
Lots of huge blue chip companies have already announced their Q4 results. SGMS isn't announcing their until the second week of March. Plenty of time to generate a big list of write-offs. The over/under on the total will be huge! Sell now!
Mike may have given his notice a year ago, but his whacking began 3 years ago (11/2010) when he was demoted from CEO to President of SG Asia/Pacific. In typical SG fashion, they couldn't terminate him completely and cleanly then, but the game was essentially over right then for Mike. Lorne knew it (obviously), the BOT knew it, you knew it, customers knew it and so did everyone else. The three years working Asia/Pac from Connecticut was just a form of extended severance pay with a soft "work at home" non-compete.
Mike was demoted from CEO in 2010 because the company's performance during the prior 4 years (one with Mike as CEO, three others as President/COO) were consistently disasterous, both commercially and financially. Every quarter brought more contract losses, more negative earnings surprises, more giant write-offs (remember Mexico?) and more promises about how the next new China marketing plan was going to make ticket sales there finally grow. They never did.
I agree with you about a few things: Mike is a boy scout and SG was a real mess when he got there. I hope you will agree with me that Mike was a great US Operations guy at Gtech, but he is not a corporate strategist, not a technologist, not an international BD guy, not an organizational process redesign expert, not a guy accustomed to competing from a position of weakness, not a corporate turnaround guy, not an #$%$-kicker and not a CEO. With all SG's inherent dysfunction, he was never going to fix SG, and that became more obvious as time went on.
The good news for Mike: His beloved Yankees have signed Tanaka, Beltran and Ellsbury, and spring training starts in 5 weeks.