|Bid||800.50 x 0|
|Ask||801.50 x 0|
|Day's Range||793.58 - 813.50|
|52 Week Range||380.20 - 2,045.00|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||0.87|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||4.60|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||0.07 (0.85%)|
|1y Target Est||N/A|
Spending on credit cards in the U.K. reached an all-time high in July as Brits turned to plastic to pay. On another note, U.S. short-seller Muddy Waters is continuing its attacks on London’s Burford Capital. Yahoo Finance’s Oscar Williams-Grut and Julie Hyman discuss.
Burford Capital, the litigation financing specialist, has had a torrid summer. Thanks to a bearish report on the business by famed short-seller Muddy Waters, published in early August, its shares closed Monday at £6.93, after floating at around £15 for much of the high season. Since Muddy Waters’ report, the company and the short-seller have been trading blows (which, in case you somehow missed it, you can read about here).
The woman who features in a sex tape acquired by Burford Capital has hired lawyers for a potential private prosecution over an alleged breach of England’s “revenge porn” laws. Covington & Burling, the US law firm, has been hired for the possible legal challenge against Burford and Daniel Hall, co-head of the company’s global corporate intelligence, asset tracing and enforcement business. featuring oil billionaire Harry Sargeant III and a woman who works in a “heavily regulated industry that is reputation sensitive”, as legal documents in the US described her.
(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Burford Capital Ltd. has had a challenging few weeks. Yet despite being the target of a high profile short-selling report, facing a potential lawsuit from investors and seeing its shares fall more than 40%, analysts are still overwhelmingly bullish.Eight of the nine analysts tracked by Bloomberg still rate the stock a buy or equivalent, with only Canaccord Genuity Ltd. holding a sell recommendation. London-traded Burford has plunged since Muddy Waters first tweeted about a new unidentified short position on Aug. 6. It published a report a day later, questioning Burford’s financial reporting and governance, which the company labeled as “false and misleading.”The average price target on Burford has decreased by less than 1% to 2,190 pence since the release of the Muddy Waters report, with only two of the nine analysts tracked by Bloomberg lowering their targets since Aug. 7. That implies the shares could almost triple from Thursday’s closing price of 808 pence and market value of 1.77 billion pounds ($2.16 billion).“Burford is still the long-term leader in a large, under-penetrated market offering attractive, uncorrelated returns,” Jefferies LLC analyst Julian Roberts wrote in a note Thursday with a buy rating on the stock.Analysts at Berenberg earlier this week noted that valuing the company is currently challenging because of changing market sentiment and daily newsflow. “In time, we expect analysts and investors to focus on tangible data points relating to capital deployed and sustainable levels of returns,” analysts including Donald Tait wrote in a note Monday with a buy rating.Burford last week named a new chief financial officer and announced it is starting a search for new board members and plans to seek a secondary listing in the U.S., in response to the short seller’s report.“There are a number of questions that still need answering and comfort needs to be given,” in particular regarding returns and funding capability, Canaccord analyst Justin Bates said in an email. Canaccord’s price target of 1,240 pence is the lowest among analysts tracked by Bloomberg.To contact the reporter on this story: Lisa Pham in London at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Beth Mellor at firstname.lastname@example.org, Jon MenonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
On June 3, U.K.’s most high-profile fund managers, Neil Woodford’s £3.75-billion ($4.55 billion) LF Woodford Equity Income Fund, was suspended as the fund manager struggled to free up cash to pay investors ...
Burford Capital , the litigation finance company targeted by short-seller Muddy Waters, has said it is changing its chief financial officer as "it is clear that investors would prefer an alternative CFO." Elizabeth O'Connell, the CFO who is married to Burford's CEO Christopher Bogart, will become chief strategy officer, while former Morgan Stanley Investment Banking vice chairman Jim Kilman will become CFO. The company also has begun a formal search to add two new independent directors and is pursuing a stock market listing in the U.S. by the end of the first quarter of 2020 or as soon as reasonably practicable thereafter.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- For a company whose senior management team is staffed largely by hard-headed litigators, Burford Capital Ltd. is doing a lousy job of fighting off an attack by short-seller Carson Block.In a call with investors last week, Burford’s management declared confidently that its rebuttal of a highly critical report from Block’s Muddy Waters Research had “knocked it on the head.” Yet the shares of the London-listed company – which provides funding for corporate litigation – remain more than 40% below where they were when rumors of the impending short-campaign first emerged last week. This suggests Buford still hasn’t done enough to alleviate investor concerns, particularly regarding the company’s byzantine governance.In fairness, there’s blame on both sides here. It’s unhelpful that Muddy Waters declared a company with more than $400 million of cash and equivalents to be “arguably insolvent.” Comparing Burford’s accounting to Enron seemed calculated to encourage shareholders to sell first and ask questions later.As one might have expected from such a lawyer-heavy enterprise, Burford has responded vigorously, claiming it has identified trading patterns that demonstrate illegal market manipulation (something Muddy Waters denies). If proven, such behavior would be reprehensible. But it kind of misses the main point: How does Burford address some of the more reasonable issues raised by Block’s firm?A two-hour call with analysts and investors last week should have been the chance for Burford’s executives to shore up confidence. But shareholders have hardly recovered their nerve subsequently.Some of the answers in the session – such as how to better understand the company’s cash flow statement and how to clarify the book value of a prized piece of Argentinian litigation – were fuzzy. On governance matters the message was outright jarring. When asked, for example, why it was that Burford prefers to be listed on the less-regulated Aim market, its management team insisted that a switch to the main London market would be “expensive” and “burdensome.” “We’re not entirely clear of the benefits other than possibly, at a moment like this, it might make people feel any better,” the chief executive Chris Bogart said, although he did leave open the possibility of a second listing in the U.S.Saying that takes some gumption when your shares have just lost more than 1.5 billion pounds ($1.8 billion) of value, thereby burning countless U.K. retail investors as well as loyal institutional shareholders. (Bogart has taken a personal financial hit but he’s hardly on the breadline, having sold about 60 million pounds worth of shares last year).One reason why investors might indeed feel better about a main market listing is that Burford would then be bound by the U.K. Corporate Governance Code, instead of Guernsey’s, as is the case now. As I’ve pointed out, Burford’s governance is a long way from satisfactory. Given the level of managerial subjectivity involved in determining the value of the legal cases funded by the company (and by extension its profits), it’s troubling that the chief executive and finance director are husband and wife.Under the U.K. governance code, non-executive directors who serve for more than nine years are considered likely to have impaired independence. Yet all four members of Burford’s board, made up entirely of non-executives, exceed that tenure.One result of these arrangements is that Burford doesn’t have to disclose how much its top executives are paid. This seems remarkably coy. Would Burford investors who’ve done well backing the stock (until last week) care that much if those salaries were huge? The seeming reluctance to countenance change undermines the management’s insistence that Burford has a “strong focus on issues like governance and transparency.”“We are, after all, a firm run by lawyers,” Bogart said last week. “We know what it looks like when companies don’t do the right thing. That’s part of what we do every day for a living. And we have deliberately built a business that has high standards and high principles around these issues.”With respect, if Burford really was aware of how its governance practices look, it wouldn’t be run like this. It should rethink, quickly.To contact the author of this story: Chris Bryant at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Bryant is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies. He previously worked for the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
London-listed litigation funder Burford Capital said it has found evidence of suspect trading patterns in its shares around the time short-seller Muddy Waters issued a report challenging the company's accounts last week. Burford said an investigation by the fund and an expert in market manipulation found trading activity in its shares on Aug. 6 and Aug. 7 was generally consistent with "material illegal activity". Burford's shares fell 19% last Tuesday, the day short-seller Muddy Waters tweeted about a forthcoming short position against an unidentified company, and dived a further 46% on Wednesday when Muddy Waters released a report criticising Burford's accounts and management.