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Thursday, February 17, 2005

And Meet Our Legal Counsel, My Cousin Vinny

Some headlines are too juicy to resist. Motley Fooler Rick Aristotle Munarriz has probably been waiting for months to pull this one out: Throw Mamma From the Train.

This after the company's independent auditor, PriceWaterhouse Coopers, refused to back financial results. On Tuesday, shares had surged on takeover rumors, before gapping down Wednesday morning, being halted, then plunging 32% on yesterday's news. The reason for the auditor's reluctance appears to be related to the company's past connection with a well-known stock promoter who had a history of pushing penny stocks in a boiler-room type operation. To be fair, the company is no longer associated with the individual and there is no reason to doubt that the financials will be approved after a delay. The jury's out for now.

This shouldn't come as a huge shock to anyone who had watched this as a potential investment back when Mamma was just one division of a publicly-traded holding company called Intasys. The fact that other parts of Intasys were shed to make Mamma.com into a pure play in the hot paid search sector speaks volumes. Prior to the reorganization it was difficult to follow INTA's financials, but in at least a couple of instances, the company took pains to make the claim that its Mamma division, at least, was profitable. The claim was unverifiable then. We'll see if another auditor is at least willing to back the 2004 financial statements.

More insight: TheStreet.com.

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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