INFO/INFOD, Inside News Leaked by Local Newspaper.

Discussion in 'Stocks' started by qll, Jul 12, 2006.

  1. qll


    I have followed this stock for at least 2 years. It has been constant down, but I managed to make good profit on several pops. I feel now it will make a slow up turn at least 30-50% in near future. Here are why.

    1 company has been losing sales every Q, but they just some new small contracts recently. 3 contacts last month.

    2 after reverse split, the price went up

    3 look at the chart, somebody is buying here, you can see big buy orders on bid during the day.

    4 burn rate is slowed and they have positive cash flow in latest Q, although it has a one time item, but even without it, the burn rate is much slowered.

    5 There is some leaked inside news, not on anywhere but on ONE local newspaper, so it is can not be considered unpublic news, but rarely people know this. The same newspaper editor leaked many inside info before, such as layoff numbers, buyout offers, because he is local and he has contacts inside the company.

    A potential buyer has emerged for beat-down Beaverton-based Metro One Telecommunications Inc., but as with previous offers, Metro One is showing no interest.

    Massachusetts entrepreneur Charles Belanger heads a group called CEPA Technologies Inc., which sent Metro One a letter late last week offering to buy the distressed company for 94 cents a share. That's roughly a $23 million offer, representing an 84 percent premium on its Friday closing price.

    Belanger said he hopes the hefty premium will overcome Metro One's reluctance to deal. The unsolicited offer comes seemingly out of the blue, from a company with no track record or public profile. But CEPA claims to have lined up enough money.

    CEPA wants to use Metro One's directory-assistance business and its network of call centers to launch a new class of high-tech phone services, according to Belanger. He said he has met with company executives in Beaverton, but Metro One has not responded to his offer.

    The company did not return calls Thursday and Friday seeking comment.

    Metro One, which contracts with phone companies to provide directory assistance, lost all of its major clients in the past few years. The company has shed all but 700 of the 7,000 workers it once employed nationwide, and its stock has plunged from more than $40 a share in 2001 to 51 cents at Friday's close.

    After considering selling or shuttering the company, Metro One announced last month that it had resolved to rebuild the business from the ground up. On June 1, it promoted Vice President Gary Henry to chief executive and tasked him with reviving the company.

    Metro One lost nearly $40 million last year on sales of $77.8 million, compared with a $63 million loss in 2004 on revenue of $140 million.

    Years of losses left Metro One with just $19.1 million in cash at the end of March, according to the company's most recent financial statements. Its auditors warned in May that the cash crunch creates "substantial doubt" that the company will survive.

    CEPA is a newly formed company created expressly to buy Metro One, according to Belanger. He declined to talk in detail about the technology he hopes to employ after buying Metro One, but he said it complements the Beaverton company's existing business.

    "We're the next generation of what they do," he said. Belanger described himself as an entrepreneur, inventor and investor who has worked with several big-name companies to launch new products.

    CEPA's 94-cents-a-share bid works out to about $23.4 million, money that Belanger said he expects to receive through an arrangement with a Manhattan private investment firm, Laurus Capital Management.

    Laurus, which specializes in investing in small companies and claims $1 billion under management, confirmed Friday that it is interested in participating in CEPA's bid for Metro One. However, it said it hasn't committed to back it.

    Laurus' involvement will depend on the specifics of any deal CEPA arranges, according to Patrick Regan, a senior investment analyst for the New York firm.

    CEPA does not yet own Metro One stock. Belanger said he is cautious with his investment strategy because of an Oregon law that limits the ability of outside investors to force changes on company management. The law restricts the voting power of shareholders who own more than 15 percent of a company, and Belanger said he believes he has more flexibility as an outsider than a stockholder.

    In last week's letter to Metro One, Belanger said he had offered 92 cents a share for the company in May but was rebuffed. He said his latest offer would be valid until June 23, two days after the company's annual investor meeting.

    If Metro One won't discuss his offer, Belanger said, he hopes shareholders will force it to consider the deal.

    That could set up a sequel to the showdown at last year's annual meeting, when Metro One's board brusquely dismissed questions and advice from its largest shareholder, Ken Peterson, a Vancouver investment professional. Peterson had offered to increase his stake in Metro One and take over as CEO if it changed its business strategy, but was turned away.

    Peterson still owns more than 12 percent of the company's stock but stopped speaking out about Metro One last year. He could not be reached for comment about CEPA's bid.

    Belanger said he hopes to attend this year's meeting and is optimistic he will have more success getting the attention of Metro One leaders than Peterson had.

    "I would love for them to wake up and take notice," Belanger said. "I don't think they believe they're a public company, and the shareholders own the company. They believe they own the company. But hopefully that will change."

    Mike Rogoway: 503-294-7699;;

    the 94c offer is pre split, so it should be 3.76 now There is another private offer around 97c cash last june but got rejected.

    $4 target is very reasonable, based on the turn-around in this company, and two private buyout offers it received.