Sam Zell’s most famous investment–The Tribune Company–looks like a real stinker. He acquired the company for $8 billion just a two years ago, and it’s already gone bankrupt.
That investment doesn’t stink nearly as bad as one of his less famous investments, though. Zell is the chairman of Covanta Holding Corportation, a New Jersey-based waste to energy company. Covanta appears to be a healthy company with profits growing. Yet something must smell funny about this trash business to Zell.
Last week the Grave Dancer dumped 1.6 million shares for an estimated $22.4 million dollars. Since July 31 2008, Zell has unloaded 8.23 million shares for $180 million dollars. We reached out to both Covanta’s investor relations head and Sam Zell’s spokesperson to find out what’s going on, but have not received a response from either.
Perhaps Zell needs money. Last year according to Forbes his worth dropped by $3 billion. With the Tribune acquisition getting worse by the moment the cagey old man might just want to turn a quick buck. Or perhaps he’s lost faith in the garbage biz.
Back in 2007, when the New York Post estimated his investment in the company at around $600 million, he said this is a “growing industry with great potential.” It appears as though he’s had a change of heart. And who wouldn’t? Back then the share price of Covanta was $26. Now it’s around $14.
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