has spent the better part of the past month trying to negotiate various financing alternatives to raise the cash it sorely needs. At last check, the company had a 30-day grace period to make a scheduled $15 million interest payment on its 12% senior subordinated notes due April 1. That grace period ended last Friday, and Planet Hollywood hasn't made any announcement or made any new
filing with an update. "Maybe they figure that, if they don't say anything, no one will notice," jokes one longtime Planet Hollywood skeptic and at times a short seller.
One investor who specializes in the securities of troubled companies (not involved in Planet Hollywood), however, says it's usually not a good sign when the grace period passes and the interest
hasn't been paid. Planet Hollywood execs were in meetings yesterday and couldn't be reached. (Can't imagine what they were talking about!)
Which leads to the question: Where's the prince? That is,
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal
, who owns more than 15% of the hobbled restaurant chain. Will he save the day?
A nail-biter to the end.
Hype or hubris:
Earlier this week
, no stranger to this
column, issued a fairly innocuous and obscure press release announcing the naming of
as executive VP of strategic business development. No big deal. But well into the copy, Kramp was quoted as saying that CustomTracks' "new Digital Signature technology, in my opinion, is the most exciting development on the Internet since the browser."
Whoa! The most exciting development on the Internet since the browser? CustomTracks, founded by David Cook, the founder of
, has never before mentioned its digital signature technology, as far as close company observers know (myself included); now some new exec is calling it the most important development since the browser.
Can CustomTracks be any more specific? No, folks there won't elaborate. The best I can tell by digging around the investment community is that the company believes it has Fort Knox-like security technology that will make it possible to send even the most sensitive documents over the Internet.
"What Windows did for computer, this will do for the Internet," insists analyst David Weinstein of
Joseph Charles & Associates
in Boca Raton, Fla, who lately has made a career out of tracking this company -- he's got a buy rating on it. He says the CustomTracks technology actually creates new protocols and is more secure than the best existing firewall.
Whatever it does, it had better be good. Otherwise CustomTracks' stock, after quadrupling in just two months to yesterday's close of 35 7/8, largely on speculation of a blockbuster technology (no pun intended), could find itself right back where it started. And then some.
From the "something smells" department:
is one of those companies that, well, seems a little out of whack. Its main business is telecommunications, but it also owns a
steak restaurant in Florida, which it says provides cash flow. According to its 10-K, it has a varied history. It started out being called
, domiciled in the British Virgin Islands. At the time it was in the solar energy biz.
It then acquired or merged with several other companies, eventually becoming Carnegie. Until last week it traded on the
OTC Bulletin Board
. Then, last Thursday, it moved to the
American Stock Exchange
The very next day trading was halted, news pending. That was the last anybody heard of or from the company. Officials didn't return my call.
Herb Greenberg writes daily for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He welcomes your feedback at
email@example.com. Greenberg writes a monthly column for Fortune and provides commentary for CNBC.