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DV: Drowning in a Sea of Useless Anecdotes While Critical Operating Issues Remain Unresolved, Lowering Target to $20

August 19th, 2015

Recently in one of our research notes about Zillow we wrote the following:“Investors love anecdotes about companies; they represent the “broth” in the mosaic theory “soup” we create on any...

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Z: Forget the Agent in North Dakota Spending $20K and the Growth in Agents Spending $5K/Month, Deceleration Is the Real...

August 5th, 2015

Investors love anecdotes about companies; they represent the “broth” in the mosaic theory “soup” we create on any given investment idea. Industry statistics and company specific filings...

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Z: Running Into a Wall - Growth Is Slowing and Other Key Observations from Our Survey of 400+ Real Estate Agents

August 4th, 2015

Each year, for the past six  we have conducted a survey of real estate agents across the country.  We find that the feedback from agents at the local level gives us a much more informed view of the state...

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ESI: Was That the Final Goodbye? We’ve Reached the Point of No Return – ESI Might Not Survive Beyond the Next 6-9...

July 30th, 2015

Following a conference call that sounded 50% like a deposition and 50% like an advertisement (it was 100% strange), we can’t help but wonder if this could be the last time we might here from ESI...

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HCG.TO: Amidst a Web of Deception Two Facts Are Now Clear: There Was Fraud and HCG Is Drastically Over-Earning,...

July 30th, 2015

“My pain…. Is self chosen At least so the prophet saysI could either burnOr cut off my pride and buy some timeA head full of lies is the weightTied to my waistThe river of deceit pulls downThe...

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HCG.TO: Management Desperately Tries to Spin a Narrative While the Company Increasingly Runs to Stand Still; Let’s...

July 22nd, 2015

“…the hedge funds tend not to do the due diligence. They don’t take the deeper dive and understand.”SAID NO ONE EVER.  Wait a minute, someone actually did say this and very recently.  This...

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Canadian Housing: The Pressure Point – MIC’s and Private Mortgages Have Become the Central Lynchpin Holding Up the...

July 16th, 2015

“The vulnerability associated with household indebtedness remains important and is edging higher, owing to an increase in the level of household debt and the ongoing negative impact on incomes from...

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HCG.TO: The Disturbing Facts Continue to Pile Up Suggesting Far Deeper Issues, the Downside Could Be Bigger Than We...

July 13th, 2015

Was it only two years ago that HCG management triumphantly trumpeted its conquest of short sellers?  Make no mistake the fact pattern surrounding the company over the past six months has been...

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Z: A Sin of Omission and Other Thoughts on the CFO’s Departure

July 9th, 2015

From our perspective, within the walls of Zillow Chad Cohen has been the fourth most important person in the company’s empire building efforts over the past decade behind Spencer Rascoff, Greg Schwartz, and Richard Barton.  This is why we think...

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CSGP: A Year From Now, Who Will Remember Brad Bellflower? Cutting Adjusted EBITDA and EPS Estimates

June 8th, 2015

Now that was a press release straight out of the late 1990’s tech company playbook.  Even for a management team that’s renown for its constant self-promotion and “smoke and mirrors” games with growth metrics,...

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ESI: A Grand Exercise in Greater Fool Theory as the March to Zero Continues

June 2nd, 2015

It’s as if the SEC never filed suit against ESI, the CEO, and the CFO….The 100%+ rally in shares of ESI over the past three trading days has been truly something to behold.  The stock has been acting like the typical villain in a horror...

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Z: Game Changer? The Age of Upstream Might Finally Be Upon Us As Brokers Attempt to Reassert Control over the Flow of...

May 15th, 2015

“Beware the the “tions” of 2015, Especially Those Related to Project Upstream….”-          PAA Research, 1/29/15“There’s something brewing here that really makes me think that...

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Z: Purposeful Obfuscation of Slowing Metrics and Other Key Takeaways from Zillow’s Earnings Release and Analyst Calls

May 13th, 2015

Heading into the company’s 1Q15 earnings call we thought we might get the following from Zillow: Messy 1Q15 results - check New metrics that would be impossible to reconcile with historical...

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ESI: The ZERO Scenario Is Finally Here and the For-Profit Education Space Might Never Be the Same

May 12th, 2015

“You shouldn’t talk to that guy, he’s a liar”You might be thinking that’s a quote from someone talking about Kevin Modany, but in fact this is a quote FROM Kevin Modany which was said to a reporter when he was...

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HCG.TO: A Web of Inconsistencies, As We Look Back to the 1990’s

May 8th, 2015

Among Canadian financial services companies Home Capital Group has had a remarkable run of generating strong loan growth, 20%+ ROE, and most importantly for investors, significant shareholder returns.  The stock is up 40 fold over the past 15 years! ...

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CSGP: Why Are Investors Excited About CoStar’s Capital Intensive, Margin Dilutive Market Share Grab in Rentals?

May 1st, 2015

“Yeah. I'm not buying that stock [Apartment finder] at that price [14x EBITDA]. I will buy that stock at half that price.”-          Andy Florance, CEO CoStar Group, Inc. 4/30/15Just an...

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WWE: Starting to Play the Game? Churn Concerns Continue to Persist

April 30th, 2015

In general as a public company, WWE has done a poor job of managing investor expectations.  Management has yet to fully figure out how to play the game of underpromising and overdelivering.  This dynamic was particularly problematic in 2014 when...

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Z: Stretching to Achieve Growth and Shrinking the TAM – Zillow’s Inventory Issues Result in New Policies that...

April 24th, 2015

For the past year, we have been arguing that Zillow has a major advertising inventory problem.  The growth of the company’s premier agent featured listing program combined with deals Zillow has...

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DV: APOL by Another Name? Lowering Target to $25

April 23rd, 2015

We’re thinking of a for-profit education company that operates a large national university with a strong presence in nursing, a big online platform, and a heavy mix of bachelor’s degree students that also owns a group of international universities.  Can you guess...

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Z: Is It Time to Question This Management Team? Taking our Price Objective to $50

April 15th, 2015

Well that was interesting.  This is not our first rodeo in a heavily shorted battleground stock, but for some reason each experience often reveals something new about potential trading action.  Today’s action certainly underscores a...

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WWE: 1.3MM Subs With Lackluster Creative? Wrestlemania Could Mark the Beginning of a Creative Upturn

March 30th, 2015

Today wrestling fans across the country are rejoicing over what many have deemed “the best Wrestlemania ever”.  Following months of complaining from WWE’s legion of vociferous fans on social media and various...

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Z: Five Questions We’re Thinking about This Week, Including: Do Internet Leads in Real Estate Convert at Less than 1%?

March 23rd, 2015

2015 is shaping up to be an incredibly challenging year for Zillow.  The ground is shifting rapidly in the residential real estate space as legacy brokerage firms and media companies (think News...

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NA.TO/HCG.TO/RON.TO: The Canadian Housing Market - Dancing on the Edge of a Razor Blade, Time to Get Short – FULL...

March 13th, 2015

This report is a follow up to our note published 3/10/15 in which we introduced Home Capital Group (HCG.TO), National Bank of Canada (NA.TO), and Rona Inc. (RON.TO) as short ideas.“Get busy with...

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NA.TO/HCG.TO/RON.TO: The Canadian Housing Market - Dancing on the Edge of a Razor Blade, Time to Get Short

March 10th, 2015

“Get busy with the facts, No zodiacs or almanacs, No maniacs in polyester slacks, Just the facts…. The small gets big, It’s a rig…. You better run homeboy, A fact’s a fact… Roll the...

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Z: Trulia 10-K Observations – Rapid Deceleration in Growth Is the Headline

March 2nd, 2015

This morning Trulia filed its 2014 10-K.  As you might remember, on the conference call discussing Zillow’s 4Q14 earnings and the closing of the acquisition management was unwilling to provide much detail on Trulia’s 4Q14 financial...

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Z: Pricing Looks to be the Lever of Last Resort; Plenty of Potential Negative Catalysts on the Horizon

February 18th, 2015

As long time followers of PAA Research know, we have a fair amount of experience dealing with heavily shorted stocks.  This is not our first rodeo with a stock that experiences a vicious rally that seems to have been...

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TRLA: Closing Out TRLA Short Idea with (-62.3%) Loss, 0.1% Alpha Generation, Z Remains Our Top Short Idea

February 17th, 2015

We are closing out our TRLA short idea with a (-62.3%) loss following the company's acquisition by Zillow.  Many, if not most elements of our short thesis on TRLA did indeed play out: in almost every way the...

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COCO: Closing Out COCO Short Idea with 99.9% Gain, 176.1% Alpha Generation

February 17th, 2015

COCO shares were delisted from the NASDAQ today.  We are closing out our COCO short idea with a 99.9% ABSOLUTE gain and 176.1% alpha generation.  It is our goal to identify short ideas that have 100% absolute return potential.  Obviously,...

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CSGP: Throwing the Marketing Gauntlet Down in Rentals Could Have Negative Implications for Everyone, Including CSGP and...

February 17th, 2015

“So hold on tight, with all your might… Cause MC's [market caps] crumble when we rumble… Cause in this battle, I’m takin no prisoners, I’m slayin MC's right on the...

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ZU: It Really Was Blue Nile Redux, Closing out ZU Short Idea with a 55.9% Gain, 64.6% Alpha Generation

February 13th, 2015

Approximately 6-months ago we introduced ZU as a short idea. At that time our thesis was as follows: Zulily’s TAM is HUGELY overstated. Bulls make the case that the markets in which Zulily participates generated...

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Current Ideas

AYI

SHORT

$129

RON.TO

SHORT

$9

BIG

SHORT

$28

ESI

SHORT

$0

DV

SHORT

$15

BGG

PAIR - LONG BGG/SHORT TTC

25%

TTC

PAIR - LONG BGG/SHORT TTC

25%

Z

SHORT

$14.00

NA.TO

SHORT

$22

HCG.TO

SHORT

$20

ING.PA

SHORT

$35

ZU

SHORT

$15

TRLA

SHORT

$20

MCRS

SHORT

$31

APOL

SHORT

$35

OPEN

SHORT

$30

BCO

LONG

$35

WWE

LONG

$25

KNL

PAIR - LONG KNL/SHORT MLHR

25%

XOXO

LONG

$20

CSGP

SHORT

$100

GCA

LONG

$8

IPSU

LONG

$20

MLHR

SHORT

$22

ARC

LONG

$12.50

LOOP

PAIR - LONG CSGP/SHORT LOOP

40%

THQI

LONG

$35

WPO

SHORT

$275

COCO

SHORT

$0

HNI

SIG

RGR