NEW YORK (Real Money) --
"In our view, Kinder Morgan is significantly misunderstood and overvalued. Currently Kinder Morgan, a widely held consensus long, but it is so for the wrong reasons as we detail in this report. We believe the Kinder Morgan complex (KMI, KMP, KMR and EPB) has substantial downside to fair value, at least 50% below the combined market cap."
That quote is the preamble to a brutal attack by Hedgeye, a quasi-research firm, on Rich Kinder and his company, titled, "Is Rich Kinder Maintaining his Stock Price Instead of his Assets?" It appeared Sept. 10, 2013, almost one year ago. At that moment, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (KMP) shares stood at $80.51.
The stock will not ever fall to Hedgeye's $40 target. That's because, as of today, it is being taken over at about $90 a share by an entity controlled by Rich Kinder. It looks like he isn't maintaining his share price -- he's boosting it -- and all along he's creating one of the largest energy companies in the world with the best technology and the most vision.
I remember that Hedgeye report well because it chose to poke fun at me -- or was it spew venom? -- for endorsing the man and his company and emphasizing that it was a consistent toll-road player.
I remember talking to Rich on air not long after the report came out. I commiserated that, amazingly, the man who had helped create one of the great energy companies of all time was somehow now being reviled for running a second-rate pipeline company that skimps on safety and maintenance. Rich had been in disbelief. Like all pipeline companies, Kinder was not without its issues. However, for the last decade his companies have had among the best safety records, and his spending on maintenance has been at the higher end of the industry. He has spent vast sums in order to ensure that that would be the case.