A good read…

June 2, 2005

SEC filings aren’t exactly known for being an entertaining read. But every now and then, a pretty good one comes along, like the 13-D filed yesterday by San Francisco-based Cannell Capital. At the bottom of Cannell’s hastily constructed site, which features a graffiti-covered van, there’s a link to the letter which starts off with a quote from Cicero dating from 63 B.C. and only gets better.

The target of Cannell’s wrath is BKF Capital Group (BKF) a New York-based asset management firm run by John Levin that includes some big-name directors including Princeton professor Burton Malkiel, Loews Corp. (LTR) CEO James Tisch and former Morgan Stanley (MWD) Chief Strategist Barton Biggs. Though the letter delves pretty deeply into BKF’s numbers, it is sprinkled with phrases like, “BKF’s list of related party transactions reads like comic monkeyshines” (whatever that is) and criticizes the company for its lavish Rockefeller Center offices.

Interestingly enough, Cannell isn’t the only one targeting BKF. A group called Steel Partners has been waging a similar war for the past few months and just last week, picked up an endorsement from proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis according to this article.

So if you’re depressed this morning (like I am) over the nomination of Chris Cox to Chair the SEC, check out the Cannell letter. It’s much more entertaining than reading about how Cox is likely to roll-back the meager gains investors have made over the past few years under the surprisingly effective leadership of William Donaldson.

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