2. Booz Springs Leak
Thank you Booz Allen (BAH). You've officially added a brand new "risk factor" for investors to concern themselves with before dumping money into a stock.
No longer will geopolitical, regulatory and market risk cut it for the modern Wall Street prospectus. Thanks to your renegade employee Edward Snowden, let's now add leak risk.
Leak risk as in the threat that one of your employees will spill your company's innermost secrets to The Guardian, Washington Post or a flirty cocktail waitress.Booz stock got bashed Monday on the immediate reaction to the news, falling as much as 5% before finishing the day 2.6% lower. Shares of the McLean Va.-based technology consultant sank again Tuesday and Wednesday as more information was released about the secret government surveillance programs, as well as Snowden's flight to Hong Kong. Don't worry though. Those badasses at Booz got their revenge on that turncoat. Snowden may have cost them hundreds of millions in market cap, but on Monday they fired the $122,000 per year employee "for violations of the firm's code of ethics and firm policy". Yeah, you guys changed that whistleblower's (at least in his own opinion) tune! He may have been a peon with access to every citizen in America's phone and internet data, but you showed him who's boss. "News reports that this individual has claimed to have leaked classified information are shocking, and if accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm," said Booz in a statement, adding that Snowden only worked for the firm for less than three months on a team in Hawaii. Sure. That makes us feel much better. Most people don't get the key to the company bathroom (you know, the nice one downstairs) until they spend three months on the job. This yenta, however, gets the world's PIN numbers from day one. To be precise, Booz, which does $1.3 billion in business with Uncle Sam's spooks, does say in its SEC filings that "any issue that compromises our relationship with the U.S. government generally or any U.S. government agency that we serve would cause our revenue to decline." That single line could be the defense contractors' best defense once the class action lawsuits start rolling in. Wall Street analysts are now chipping away at earnings estimates for the company, so this Snowden problem is just starting to snowball. Unfortunately, we think that skinny little disclaimer still has far too many holes in it, which is why we like "leak risk" much better. Or perhaps "blabbermouth risk". Yeah, that's good too.
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