Qiao Xing Mobile: Acquirer Buys Cash at a Discount

| About: Qiao Xing (QXM)

Qiao Xing Mobile (NYSE:QXM) has been on the Stock Ideas page for almost one year now, due primarily to the discount at which the company trades to its large cash balance. The good news is that shares rose almost 40% as an offer came in to buy out shareholders at a premium to the current price. The bad news is that the offer is still well below the company's net cash position!

QXM more or less breaks even on an operating basis due to intense competition in the mobile handset market in China. But cash is still cash! The company has
$265 million of cash on its balance sheet even after subtracting all of the company's liabilities! But the buyout offer only values the company at $206 million. Furthermore, the company has another $120 million of current assets (receivables, inventory etc.) that the acquirer would receive absolutely free.

Usually, acquisitions are made at a premium to, at the very least, a company's net current assets. So why is this offer such a weak one? The reason may be that the acquirer already owns a majority of QXM's shares. As such, it only has to deal with minority shareholders, who don't control the company and who may be powerless to avoid selling cash at far less than cash value.

Recognizing that minority shareholders can get bullied by those in control, the SEC does offer minority shareholders some protections. It remains to be seen whether those protections are enough in this case to keep QXM shareholders from getting ripped off.

Author has a long position in shares of QXM