June 22, 2017 / 4:19 PM / 2 years ago

Short seller Cohodes keeps Home Capital bet despite Buffett deal

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Short seller Marc Cohodes, who has bet against Home Capital Group Inc shares for more than two years, said on Thursday he is keeping his short position on the Canadian lender despite a capital infusion from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

“This was clearly the best deal they had,” Cohodes said in a telephone interview. “If it wasn’t Warren Buffett’s name, the stock would be way, way, way down today.”

Home Capital shares soared as much as 18 percent to its highest since April after Berkshire Hathaway agreed to provide a new C$2 billion loan facility.

Cohodes said betting against Home Capital “has been great,” with the stock down 47 percent from C$31.34 at the start of the year to C$16.54 price on Thursday.

Cohodes said: “The $1 million question here is now with 100-some odd million shares out, no ones know what this business model business looks like going forward, in terms of what they can make. You can’t borrow at 9.5 percent and profitably lend out 4.5 percent. That just doesn’t work.”

Cohodes, who is a private investor and operates a California chicken farm with about 200 chickens, said he has not been scared off by Buffett’s involvement. “I am not deterred at all,” he said. “I’m frustrated by it. Because you know, the free markets aren’t exactly working here.”

“I still think, with everything I got, that this company is worthless, I really do. But it’s going to take a whole lot longer to play out then I would have said yesterday because (Buffett) has put money in and he’s willing to backstop this thing for a period of time.”

Reporting by Jennifer Ablan; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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