While chatting with
this evening, I got into a compelling discussion with him, off-line, about the deadly nature of the lockup expirations.
Bill and I had been talking about how May will have the most stock coming off lockup in history. We said that even though there are virtually no underwritings to speak of, the torrent of supply will be, as I put it, silent but deadly.
Before this year, nobody even thought of lockup expirations as meaningful. I remember buying into a big slug of
about a year ago, not knowing that I had run into an expiration of a lockup and thinking, wow, I wish I had thought of that before.
The Wall Street Journal
publishes the expirations. It is second nature. But gaming an expiration and gaming an underwriting are two different things. An underwriting is large and public and finite. A lockup expiration is large and quiet and endless. An underwriting has road shows and disclosure issues. A lockup expiration has privacy and quiet overtones. You don't know what you are buying into.
Yet, both are the same thing: moments at which insiders can bail. It is a shame that they are treated so differently because, when you issue only a small amount of stock from the get-go, there should be much more disclosure on the back end.
When the book on this era is written, I think we will look back and wonder why the government didn't try to change the rules to protect the buyers more. They don't really have a fair shot when all of this private supply hits.
After our chat tonight, I am thinking that this issue might be a fine one for
to support in its constant efforts to help level the playing field.
Something to think about.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund had no positions in any stocks mentioned. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at