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Albert Podell
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Graduate of Cornell University, 1958. Graduate Fellow, Univ of Chicago 1958-60. Received Doctor of Laws degree from New York University School of Law, 1976. Have practiced litigation from 1976 until retirement in 2010. Have been an active stock investor since 1964,and active theatrical investor... More
  • Out Of His Depth: Salzman Article On UNXL Is A One-Sided, Inept, Hatchet Job 32 comments
    May 11, 2013 11:14 PM

    Avi Salzman's article in Barron's of May 13, titled "Out of Touch," is so one-sided that, were it a ship, it would tip over in even the calmest frog pond. And it is so lacking in hard news, or even correct information, that one wonders if the title is a sub-conscious confession by the author himself.

    Just look at how he slants the deck:

    1. He interviews some shorts, but not a single long.
    2. He mentions, as being in the Uni-Pixel camp, tiny Williams Financial (which few on Wall Street have heard of), but mysteriously omits the support and high ratings that UNXL has received from such big boys as Cowen and Ladenburg.
    3. He does not mention any of the 20 major institutions that have bought, and contentedly continue to hold, stock in UNXL, to the point where the institutions and insiders now own more than 60% of the outstanding shares, and are quietly trying to buy more before the stock really takes off around late June.
    4. He never mentions that just two weeks before, in the semi-annual Big Money Poll published by Barron's - yes, Avi, Barron's. Ever heard of it? -- UNXL was selected by the top money managers in the nation as one their nine favorite stocks for the year ahead. (Or perhaps, Avi, you think you know better than they do? Hey, what's in your wallet? And what you been smoking?)
    5. Avi makes it sound as if Kodak were a car-wash open to all, and fails to mention that it is constructing a multi-million-dollar, state-of-the-art, dedicated facility in Eastman Industrial Park solely and exclusively to make UniBoss in partnership with Uni-Pixel, and that this relationship is a cornerstones of Kodak's new business strategy to concentrate on printing materials on film.
    6. He dwells, at great length, on the past failure of UniPixel execs, to commercialize TMOS and fingerprint-resistant film but, hey, if you had ever seen me on my first two years on skis you never would have thought I'd one day be skiing black diamonds on Aspen and Alta. I guess Avi never heard about avoiding earlier mistakes and learning from experience. And if his article is any example, he has not.
    7. He highlights the CIT lawsuit, and tries to worry his readers about it, but he fails to mention that UNXL last week won its motion in the federal court for the eastern district of Texas to remove and remand the case to a state court in Texas, where it now could win about a million dollars in legal fees from CIT pursuant to the Texas "loser pays" statute.
    8. He quotes a sell-side analyst, who has been promoting Atmel, for the brilliant comment that he does not see any competitive advantage to UniBoss, without disclosing whether the guy has advised any of 'tutes that are long Atmel, or short UNXL and part of the group who are now $100,000,000 underwater. And he never interviews even one of the multitude of investment bankers and analysts who are long UNXL and who warmly congratulated CEO Killion on his the company's stellar achievements at the conference call on April 30. (Hey, Avi, you ever heard of a level playing field. Or being fair?)

    `Avi also gets his facts so wrong that any big-city reporter would be fired.

    • He says that UNXL has only $15.7 million in cash. Hey, Avi, what did you do with the $40 million UNXL netted from the secondary just two weeks ago? Or are you so out of touch that you are still citing the amount of cash it had on hand at the end of Q1? Guess you didn't want to let the facts interfere with your thesis?
    • He states that UNXL only has the "capacity to make 60,000 square feet a month in Texas," but either does not understand, or willfully does not want to mention, that that is just the capacity it had at the end of April. And that it is carefully and consistently being increased, according to its business plan, to 200,000 square feet per month by the end of June, to 700,000 square feet capacity by the end of September, to one million square feet a month by end the year, all in Texas.
    • He does mention that UNXL claims that UniBoss is "cheaper and more responsive" than competing products, be he fails to mention that it is also less brittle, much thinner, far more flexible, less breakable, more conductive, uses less power, can run on smaller batteries, does not need to rely on China for supplies of rare-earth indium, has no graphic lag time, can be scaled up to home-movie-screen sizes, and that it scales up at an arithmetical cost, not a geometric one like the competing ITO crap. Oh well, maybe Avi had space limitations. In addition to his other limitations.
    • He does mention that one of UNXL's scientists holds a lot of patents, but he only mentions the ones he has yet to commercialize. And he tries to paint a negative picture of UNXL by dwelling on another exec, who has not worked at UNXL for four years, who believed that the earth was flat, or that the White Sox would win the Series, or some other wild thing.
    • But Avi fails to mention that Robert Berg, who is widely regarded as one of the top people in the field, came aboard the Pixie Express as its VP for global sales in February, and that Robert Rusenko, a rock star super stud when it comes to running complex production lines, joined a few weeks ago as VP for manufacturing. And if Avi had mentioned them, he doubtless would have opined that they both blindly jumped aboard without thoroughly checking it out first, Same with Dell, of course. And Intel. And Texas Instruments. And Kodak. Can he genuinely believe that all these highly successful leaders of American electronic technology failed to send their engineers over to the Uni-Pixel facility to check it thoroughly, and work for weeks with the UNXL technical staff, to satisfy themselves that the Pixie can deliver. Hey, Avi, dear, you ever hear of what psychologists call " projection?" It means you wrongly accuse others or doing what you are really doing yourself. How much due diligence did you do on this article, son?

    Avi's next major journalistic coup is to state the obvious as if it were his Eureka moment. He lambastes UNXL for having had only loses in the past five years. Gee whiz, Avi, you never heard of a development-stage company before? Maybe you know some that made money from Day One? Maybe you could tell us about those. Now that would be a story worth writing. But we won't hold our breath.

    • Then he paints a frightening picture of UNXL entering a "crowded" marketplace. Well, Avi, the marketplace is crowded because this is a hot area, perhaps the hottest in all of technology right now. And -- since you apparently do not invest - let me explain that that means there is money to be made. Billions! Many, many billions! That frighten you?
    • Next Avi frets that UNXL will have to "compete against more experienced players." Well, Avi, you ever heard of Goliath? You ever notice how a startup called Amazon licked butt and devastated Barnes & Noble and Borders and Sears and Montgomery-Ward. Montgomery who? Or how Yahoo News and the Huffington Post have stolen readers from the big daily print papers? Or how Dell and Apple doomed giant Digital Equipment and the IBM PC and Atari and Compaq? Or how what were once itty bitty biotechs. now world- renowned as Genetech and Amgen and Celgene and Gilead and Biogen wiped the floor with big pharmas like now-extinct Upjohn and Parke-Davis? Or how, back when every drug company was desperately searching for a cure for HIV infection - talk about a crowded and competitive field! - little Protein Design Labs and Vertex, wielding a new concept called rational drug design, were first to market, while the big boys were still following their old ways and looking for a promising fungus on Japanese golf courses? It is called having a disruptive technology, Avi. Ever heard the term? What rock you been living under, lad? Oh, the same one where you met all those shorts who begged you to write your little hatchet job because, as they confessed to you, they were "getting their heads ripped off."

    Also, Avi, didn't you ever in your life fight somebody more experienced than you and win? Oh, you never tried. You say, your mother wouldn't't let you? Well, bud, that explains a lot. Sorry I asked.

    Last, Avi, and I don't know if this fits within your skill sets, but did you ever run the numbers before you opined that the Pixie will not be able to deliver in commercial quantity? Let's do the math. I'll make it easy for you. Let's take Killion's stated goal of a million square feet a month of product by the end of December. A square foot is one unit, and the line is about a foot wide. Out in Lufkin they gonna be working two shifts a day, figure seven hours a shift with an hour out for barbecue and chili dogs, or 14 hours a day, say 20 days a month, comes to 280 hours of running time a month. You still with me, Avi? Hate to lose you in this higher math. So 280 hours multiplied by 60 minutes in an hour - you were aware that there are 60 minutes in an hour, right Avi? -- multiplied by 60 seconds in a minute, gives us 1,008,000 seconds of operation a month, or a full second available to push out each foot of UniBoss to achieve the goal of one million. I'm sure you did not do the research. Avi, but are you aware that the plating/printing machines used by the Pixie, can run at dozens of feet per second, turning out dozens of units a second? And that UNXL ordered another set of machines months ago? And did you really think that Kodak would risk the wreck of its reputation, as it emerges from bankruptcy as a totally transformed company, by signing a deal to produce ten million units a month for UNXL if they did not know they could do it?

    And those 120,000,000 million yearly units that will start rolling out of Rochester by late fall, as Kodak commences full ramping up, have buyers eager to pay $20 each for them. Which comes to $2.4 billion a year. Lop off 20% for defects, give away a generous half the production to Kodak, and UNXL is left with a billion bucks a year gross revenue, worst case. Divide that by the 15 million shares issued by 2015, and UNXL earns $66.66 a share for calendar year 2015. Chop that in half to cover S&A, G&A, depreciation, taxes, and cost of materials, and more barbecue for the employees, and you got $33.33 a share in solid fully diluted GAPP earnings. Give that a multiple of 40, which is conservative for an amazing growth stock like this, and you got a stock worth $1,333 a share. Oh, what the hell, cut it all in half again, and you still get a value of $666 per share in 32 months. Maybe now, Avi, dear, you understand why those shorts are getting their heads ripped off.

    And it's so kind of you to try to rescue them with your slanted article. But you'd probably be of more help to them as a blood donor. Don't worry, Avi, the Red Cross only wants to know if you have any communicable diseases; they won't ask any embarrassing questions about your competency as a journalist. Oh, I guess neither did Barron's.

    Disclosure: I am long UNXL.

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Comments (32)
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  • Interesting stuff Albert! Wow $666 in 2015 ?!?


    My only concern now is with the clearly out-of-their-depth foolish executives working for the company. They of course know everything that you 'know' - only much much better - and that makes the decision of the Chief Operations Officer, the Chief Financial Officer, and the Sr Vice President to sell 120,000 shares for a lousy $22 two months ago so hard to fathom. Who sells a precious asset for a mere 3% of its future worth on the cusp of success? In fact you should argue that anyone with even a sliver of intelligence would move heaven and earth if necessary to buy as many shares right now as possible.


    Do you know whether there's been any recent buys? I'm sure there must be I just can't find them.


    You know what's so funny too? I'm sure you've heard of Ascent Solar (ASTI). Very much like UNXL they had a novel concept (it worked in the lab!); develop a roll-to-roll deposition process for thin-film solar on flexible backing. With speed and ease the flexible solar sheets could be cut into any shape and incorporated into all kinds of BIPV (building integrated photo-voltaics) products. They were going to revolutionize the industry. Like UNXL they also succeeded in convincing a major European energy company; Norsk Hydro, to put up a lot of the money for the build-out. It all seemed rather credible at first.


    As the stock shot from 4.00 to 28.00 the first clue that something was amiss was the unseemly rush of insiders to unload significant portions of their holdings. We're talking like 50% or more. Kind of like the UNXL execs did although their totals so far range from 17 to 32%.


    Now people have all kinds of reasons for selling stock but thinking 'this rocket ship's going higher!' ain't one of them.


    (As for ASTI needless to say getting from the lab to the market did not turn out well - encapsulation problems, who knew?! - and the stock currently trades for 60 cents).
    12 May 2013, 12:45 AM Reply Like
  • mukticat, Glad you change your number of insider sell from 50% to 17-32%.However, Chris has corrected you the number is around 7%, add told you how to calculate it. pls be clear before spread it.
    12 May 2013, 11:46 AM Reply Like
  • Mukticat doesn't care about the facts. He's an underwater short and has been corrected on this point numerous times regarding insider sales.
    13 May 2013, 12:03 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » I'm still new here and was not aware of that, so thank you, hack. I mistakenlhy thought he was just manic-depressive and hopeless.
    13 May 2013, 10:18 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Mukticat You are clearly an intelligent and rational guy, but I think you are making much too much over the sale of some shares that had been carved in stone about six months before they were sold. Realize also that there are a multitude of reasons for selling stock aside from the idea that it will crash. And remember that these guys will be getting so many more options -- 800.000 more shares approved at the annual meeting --, that they really don't need to cling to the old ones,
    I agree that there is too much Texas cronyism in the exec suite, but the two latest VP hires are excellent and the weak ones will be eased out soon enuf.
    Yes, ther mahy be a bit too much YTexas cronhyism in the exec suite, but tjhe two latest hires are gems.
    12 May 2013, 01:15 AM Reply Like
  • Great job, Al!
    12 May 2013, 02:22 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » You tell it like it is, red, despite your name.
    12 May 2013, 09:44 AM Reply Like
  • The insiders' sale of share was well timed and very well deserved. They performed miracles turning Uni-Pixel from TMOS to Uni-Boss on less than stellar wages for what they accomplished. They have since been rewarded with many well deserved options that vest well into the future, which will capture the future value they know is there. I'm sorry for your short position, but the constant repeating of these "claims" of proof that Uni-Pixel is somehow a fraud, well are getting tired. If it is a fraud, they duped a very expansive list of very technically advanced leading companies. I doubt they all "fell" for it.
    12 May 2013, 02:22 AM Reply Like
  • I for one am not sorry for anyone's short position. You want to play Russian Roulette with a loaded gun? Well, then you get what you ask for.


    I pity the guy's kids though, since they will have to go to college on expensive loans or government handouts for charity cases. Oh well.
    13 May 2013, 06:57 PM Reply Like
  • Al, this is great stuff as usual. And good job getting it out so quickly!
    12 May 2013, 11:46 AM Reply Like
  • Good rebuttal, Al.


    What amazes me is the shocking and inexcusable lack of editorial oversight that allowed such a poorly researched, one sided and sloppily written piece to even appear in an ostensibly credible publication such as Barrons.


    If Barrons is now printing agenda driven propaganda pieces, it should no longer charge the general public subscription fees, but the special interests that it serves.


    It should issue a retraction, or at least a counterbalancing article, if it wishes to maintain a semblance of journalistic integrity.
    12 May 2013, 12:04 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » It amazes me, too, marketsite, and I am going up there today to demand an investigation of how this happened. Please let them know what you think; it will help the cause of more ethical journalism. You write clearly and rationally and with perception and power, so please add your voice and let them know.
    13 May 2013, 10:22 AM Reply Like
  • Albert all I can say is that you excel at the hatchet piece yourself. I'm a regular Barrons subscriber and the article reads the same as any typical article does. It wasn't a cover story so at best the writer is given a single page to cover as much ground as possible. The article was factually correct and it would have been impossible to include everything you think worth knowing about UNXL.


    The fact was that it was an unbiased and fair representation of the current and past events at UNXL. It just wasn't the sort of puff piece you've become used to either from Seeking Alpha or the promotional press releases the company issues.


    To try to scold, humiliate and impugn Salzman's integrity just for leaving out your favorite bits shows you don't know much about publishing . . . or human nature. One thing you may have accomplished though is to rile up Salzman and get him to do a thorough job replying to his critics . . . and he's got a lot larger megaphone than you do!
    12 May 2013, 01:12 PM Reply Like
  • joke, read the just posted letters by AI, then you know what is unbiased!
    12 May 2013, 01:51 PM Reply Like
  • I'm sure Killion is seriously regretting having his letters published but if he isn't then he should get a job with Ringley Bros; maybe they're hiring clowns.
    12 May 2013, 10:55 PM Reply Like
  • This little tempest-in-a-teapot doesn't seem to be getting much traction on Barrons. 'Out of Touch?' is not even on the list of top ten READ or EMAILED stories. Apparently not many people care about UNXL. It is, though, tied for seventh place for most number of comments on an article. Apparently Albert's having an effect. If you could all post a few more comments I'm sure you can elevate this story to even higher prominence.
    13 May 2013, 01:58 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » I'm about as worried about Salzman as I am about you. We New Yorkers have a lot of experience stomping on roaches. As for Salzman having a bigger microphone, that is wonderful, because the louder his nonsense is broadcast, the more readily apparent its stupidity becomes. It you really believe his article was spot on, don't waste your time posting here; you should rush to go short a few more thousand shares.
    13 May 2013, 10:28 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Absolutely. Killion comes across as fair and reasonable, another reason I wanted those letter out, so the investing public can get to know the man.
    13 May 2013, 10:30 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » No, bjut it clear that YOU regret having his letters uublished.
    13 May 2013, 10:31 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Thank you. First good idea you had today
    The reason people are not reading the story is not because they have no interest in UNXL; it is because they don't want to waste their time reading garbage..
    13 May 2013, 10:34 AM Reply Like
  • "Factually correct" isn't the primary requirement for honest journalism. The top requirement is representing all sides of a story. You can be factually correct, and still be totally biased and unprofessional in your writing.
    13 May 2013, 07:00 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Doesn't this completely contradict what you just wrote on my companion post? In this one you call him a clown, in the other a very clever operator.
    You want to pick one and stick wyih it? Or are you one of those gunslingers who buys put-call spreads and loses of both ends?


    BTW, the circus guys are RingLING Bros. Ringley Bros does jewelry and music tones for cellphones.
    14 May 2013, 09:16 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Boy, are you out of touch!. The Barron's Monday afternon webcast reported that they were inundated with "hate mail" about this article. It must be interesting to live in your own sealed-off world, detached from reality..
    14 May 2013, 09:22 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » You are right. And the writer was all of the above bad things.
    14 May 2013, 09:23 AM Reply Like
  • Barron's became an irrelevant joke 15 years ago. Definitely not surprising to me that Mukticat is a subscriber! Ha! Had to go down the street to buy a copy. Felt a bit dirty actually paying good, hard-earned $ for for the worthless rag. However, It may come in running low on tp! Absolutely one of the most poorly-written and worthless pieces of crap I have ever read. Al, thanks much for continuing to post your comments. Along w/Chris' & Scott's/GRA's, they have been very valuable to me. I have transitioned clients from stock to Jan 14 & 15 calls. Am really hoping that this article will act to temporarily depress UNXL's price this morning. If so, I'd be willing to bet that More than a few shorts will thank God for a chance to cover. Will be increasing our call positions into any significant price decline.


    Here's a novel idea. How 'bout no intelligent commenter bother to lend any further legitimacy to Mukticat by no longer going to the trouble of responding to his/her incessant blather. It has gotten to the point of reminding me why intelligent adults choose to ignore a spoiled little brat having constant temper tantrums. Mukticat is a 1-trick pony & that 1 trick has gotten REALLY tiresome. Let Mukty be happy with his 100 shares short & be on his way...As GRA stated, "There will be blood". As far as I'm concerned, I can't wait for UNXL to begin trading today. A nice sell off will be regarded by me as Christmas...sorry Al...or Chanukah in May!!! Thanks again for your help.


    Lastly, I think we need to do some real research (an utterly foreign concept to Avi Maria) & find out how much Avi was paid & by who, to write this garbage. In my mind, Barron's reached a new low by publishing it. Barron's has become the print/online version of MSNBC. Sorry Mukticat. I realize that you're an ardent Chris Matthews groupie!!! Hope my comments sent a thrill up your leg!
    13 May 2013, 06:29 AM Reply Like
  • Hi,
    A novice and my statements may not be completely accurate. Was a long down in the single and got out, then got long in the low teens and got out recently. My reason to get out was because I heard in the CC that UNXL only shipped 50 units to test with the ecosystem partner. Wondering why would they be offering secondary before testing with the partner for production acceptance. Or is this 'testing' news old that was mentioned in the CC? Any thoughts would be appreciated. If I have misstated any facts, I apologize in advance.
    14 May 2013, 12:34 AM Reply Like
  • Hi cyberspecies,


    I will attempt to answer your question. I don't believe you have misstated any facts, except the 50 units were to test with the PC manufacturer, not the ecosystem partner. Uni-Pixel has done significant internal testing already and therefore has full faith in their ability to pass this next round of testing. Therefore, they are already building out further capacity both internally (at Lufkin, TX) and with Kodak. The secondary was to help raise money to expedite this production ramp.


    You must remember that Uni-Pixel is publicly working with N-Trig, Texas Instruments, Synaptics, and others, as well as rumored to be working with Dell and Intel. All of these companies would have done at least some of their own testing, and Uni-Pixel has passed it all. While it is certainly possible that their might be a few minor delays with the upcoming testing, I believe it is very unlikely for them to outright fail it.


    I hope this helps,
    14 May 2013, 08:34 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Nothing for me to add; Chris knows his stuff.
    14 May 2013, 09:25 AM Reply Like
  • Al/Chris:


    SYNA has been a holding in my Discounted Growth portfolio for 8 months. The original investment thesis/purchase had nothing to do with its UNXL working relationship. While I realize that UNXL is the pure play, can you guys envision any significant, positive impact on UNXL partner companies going forward? If so, which would you consider to have the most leverage to UNXL's success? It may be just too early to speculate, but I'd value your input.


    I will evaluate Kodak following bankruptcy emergence. Hopefully all goes well with this relationship and UNXL can help Kodak get back on its feet.


    Thanks, guys.
    14 May 2013, 01:13 PM Reply Like
  • Of course the obvious point that goes unmentioned within all this hullabaloo over the Barron's story is that if, for example, an Al Podell was confident in his nutty prediction of UNXL at 666 or 1300 by 2015 he would welcome any downturn in the price as an opportunity to buy more. After all he's predicting a 20-fold increase in price. The company already got their equity raise so there's no need to defend the stock price now.


    The same is true of all UNXL longs. You're plain scared.
    14 May 2013, 06:51 PM Reply Like
  • Not even a bit. Tired of the lies and misrepresentation, yes.
    15 May 2013, 12:20 AM Reply Like
  • 6.67 is more like it
    27 May 2013, 12:30 PM Reply Like
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