NEW YORK (
) -- Dick Bove is so consumed with the idea of
executive greed that he has gotten lost in the forest.
He believes that this $20 billion secondary offering offers no positives for shareholders. He interprets the move as a way for Citi management to get out from under the government pay restrictions and nothing more.
In a very arrogant move by the analyst, he put a sell rating on the stock after failing to convince management not to do this deal in a private meeting held three weeks ago. Bove
to wait two more years.
What would have happened if
Bank of America
were all operating without the restrictions of TARP while Citigroup tried to compete while hampered by the restrictions?
In this scenario we surely would have witnessed a mass exodus of executives away from Citi. Has Bove read the recent headlines about
The success or failure of a bank is directly correlated to the people who work there. Citigroup had to jump when everyone else was jumping if it wanted to remain competitive.
To paint the executive team as a group of greedy, self-serving fat cats is too simple-minded. Government stakes in private banks were a bad plan to begin with; the sooner Citigroup can move on, the better.
The real story is that Citigroup was able to raise the $20.5 billion in the stock market. Only nine months ago, that appeared inconceivable. Are we supposed to be in shock that there wasn't an appetite for the Treasury to sell an addition $5 billion at the same time? This was already the largest offering in history.
Citigroup has a long road ahead but it looks as if the company will escape the clutches of government control within six to 12 months, thereby allowing it to retain executives and maybe hire some new talent.
This offering should be interpreted as progress, not as some "terrible error," as Bove is calling it.
Shares of Citigroup closed at $3.22, down 23 cents.
At the time of publication, Schwarz did not own any of the stocks mentioned.
Jason Schwarz is an option strategist for Lone Peak Asset Management in Westlake Village, Calif. He is also the founder of the popular investment newsletter available at www.economictiming.com. Over the past few years, Schwarz has gained acclaim for his market calls on the price of oil, Bank of America, Apple, E*Trade, and his precision investing in S&P 500 option LEAPS. His book, The Alpha Hunter, is set to be released by McGraw Hill in December 2009.