Freud in the filings…

August 29, 2008

Anyone who reads filings regularly knows that they’re often painfully dry. That’s mostly because they’re written in a foreign language: accounting-speak combined with legal-speak and a bit of PR/marketing speak for good measure. Which is why it’s so refreshing when you come across a filing with something of a sense of humor. It’s almost like finding a perfect morel in the woods, something I’ve been a bit obsessed with this past summer.

Yet that’s exactly what Expeditors International (EXPD) has been doing, fairly consistently. In the 8-K it filed earlier this week, which continued its practice of publishing questions and answers it presumably receives from investors, it had a little bit of fun with one question regarding what appeared to be a missing 8K. (Thanks to Equilar’s David Sasaki for bringing this to our attention):

You didn—t miss it; we didn—t publish it. The relevant responses to those questions from last quarter, however, are included in this 8-K. There were obviously some reasons why we were not able to publish an 8-K last quarter, but having taken a few stabs at explaining them in preparing this response, they came off, on paper anyway, as sounding more like excuses than reasons. Accordingly, we offer neither, only our apologies. We—ve been asked if our lack of response was a result of the ongoing Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation. We do not believe that this was the case. That said, one should not read too much into the fact that we have not published an 8-K for a while. To paraphrase Freud —Sometimes a late 8-K is just a late 8-K.

As it turns out, this wasn’t the first time that Freud was mentioned in the company’s filings. Indeed, Expeditors International has turned to Freud five times since 2001 to explain everything from margin expansions to stock options.

Granted, SEC filings are serious business. But that doesn’t mean they have to be devoid of any personality. For that reason alone, Expeditors gets a rare footnoted gold star.

I’ll be off next week — hunting for morels, no doubt — but leave you in the capable hands of my regular substitute.

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