We’ve seen Jim Cramer upset, but this is on a whole other level.
In the last week Cramer has gone to war on Twitter and on his website, The Street, to respond to attacks from buy-side researcher Keith McCullough, of Hedgeye. At question is Linn Energy (LINE), an energy company whose stock is set for a merger.
The problem with that, according to Barron’s and McCullough’s Hedgeye, is that Linn’s annual dividend will increase after it merges with another energy company, Berry Petroleum. Barron’s and Hedgeye (as the firm said in a call last week) both believe that the increased dividend will be hard for the company to support.
Cramer disagreed. He’s long the stock, and for the record, it is on a tear — up over 6% in the last 5 days.
Now on Wall Street, when two (non-billionaire hedge fund manager) individuals have a disagreement about a stock, they politely wait and see (talk smack amongst themselves) what happens.
Not so with Linn Energy.
For days McCullough and his friends took to Twitter to call Jim Cramer every name under the sun. Perhaps it was to call attention to their research, perhaps it’s because we don’t have the Libor scandal to entertain us all this summer.
But this is what it looked like:
Cramer apparently blocked him.
Not to outdone Cramer took to his website to explain his position, and accused McCullough and co. of “orchestrating one of the most well-orchestrated raids” on the stock he’d ever seen.
From The Street:
I have to congratulate them, even though I would have thought such a thing in violation of the 1934 Securities Exchange Act. I get that because when I studied law I learned that FDR appointed Joseph Kennedy to the SEC because he knew that Kennedy orchestrated Linn-like raids and FDR wanted them stopped. Perhaps what’s happened is that you are now allowed to do what FDR didn’t want and get away with it. I don’t think it is right, but I don’t make the rules…
Long after these guys are driven from the game, I will be writing here, just like I have for 31,000 columns before this. I urge those who doubt my resolve to ask anyone who has ever met me. Ever. Or go read Confessions of a Street Addict, which came out before many of these attackers were in middle school. I think they might find that I am, let’s say, combative? Resolute? Implacable? A little bit of all of those. I wouldn’t be that way, if it weren’t a huge amount of fun for me to play D then go on the O and because I genuinely believe that I can help people — not destroy stocks and people and firms — but actually help people make some money in a good, honest and decent way.
Drops mic, walks off stage…
The final word in this argument, however, hasn’t come from Cramer of McCullough. It has come from on high — from the hallowed halls of Omega Advisors.
Yes, Leon Cooperman reiterated his confidence in Linn’s ability to pay the dividened on CNBC yesterday.
“We have done our homework,” Cooperman said of Omega’s investment in Linn Energy. He also referenced similar Omega investments such as Atlas Energy (ATLS_) and Atlas Pipeline Partners (APL_).
Suddenly, McCullough doesn’t seem to want to talk about it. He’s moved on to touting a new media channel his hedge fund is launching, which may be the reason he started this nonsense in the first place.
Back to your Excel spreadsheet.
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