New York-based investment management firm, Kerrisdale Capital, recently published a negative report regarding the $1 billion valuations of St. Joe Company, which they believe is “over-valued and over-hyped.” The company’s Chief Investment Officer, Sahm Adrangi, who has made a name for himself across the investment world for his aggressive stance regarding the short-selling of various businesses, estimates that St. Joe Company’s stock is worth 40 percent less than its current valuation. In the report, Sahm Adrangi and company suggest that much of the land resources available to St. Joe Company is “swampy, remote, and unlikely to be developed soon.” This claim by Sahm Adrangi and Kerrisdale Capital counters the recent rise in value for St. Joe Company, as their plan to create a prominent destination and retirement community near Panama City Beach, has driven up investing interest as of late. In actuality, the land to be developed by St. Joe Company, has been virtually untouched for nearly a decade, with attempts at serious progress enduring a number of successive hurdles. 2015 marks the last time that any real movement was seen regarding the project, and, according to Kerrisdale Capital’s report, no permits to further the development have been garnered. Much of the profitable land owned by St. Joe Company has already been utilized, and with a market that has recently seen an influx of activity, teetering on the point of oversaturation, real estate developers and shareholders may be in for a rude awakening.
St. Joe Company also has another issue due to affect their value, being that Fairholme Fund owns 22.7 million shares of their stock. New Securities and Exchange Commission regulations will require Fairholme Fund to dispose of 10 million shares by December 1, 2018, making for a perilous process between now and that time. There is also the possibility of a conflict of interest litigation due to the fact that Fairholme’s fund manager, Bruce Berkowitz, is also the chairman of the board at St. Joe Company. If Bruce Berkowitz and the two other Fairholme directors affiliated with St. Joe Company, choose to step down in order to “ease regulations on trading,” Sahm Adrangi foresees an adverse reaction from the market.