Muddy Waters founder Carson Block went on Bloomberg Market Makers today to discuss the possible fraud at communication giant American Towers Corp.
The new report from Muddy Waters casts doubt over AMT’s work in emerging markets, flagging one particular acquisition in Brazil as suspect.
“The reality is very different than what the company tells you,” Block said. “It has been able to create the illusion of growth in part through this de facto lending business where it’s giving carriers money that they give right back to it as revenue.”
In the transaction in question, AMT claimed to spend $585 million purchasing towers in Brazil. Muddy Waters found the actual number paid for the towers “was really only in the lower $300-range.”
“If the company knows that was the case and does not disclose that, that would be fraud, but if the company did not know they did not pay that much money for the towers, then that would be something else,” Block said.
Block was coy, however, on how Muddy Waters stumbled upon the appraisal price of the Brazil tower.
“We came across the information after we have been looking at towers,” Block said. “Surprisingly Google Maps is quite robust in Brazil.”
Check out the interview from Bloomberg TV below:
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