Hall of Shame

Communication Services

58.com (WUBA US)

Year: 2020

58.Com, Inc. is a Chinese company that operates as a local life service platform. The Company transfers products and services between purchasers and sellers. 58.Com offers housing rental, recruitment, second-hand product, travel, catering, entertainment, and group-buying information and services.  It listed on the NYSE in October 2013 raising US$215.05M.   In an additional share offering sale in Macth 2014, it raisde another US$228M.

February 13, 2020, short-sellers , Grizzly Research issued a report on 58.com; "We believe that 58.com (WUBA) is a House of Cards with Little Economic Substance"  In the report, it said :-
     -  In it's view, WUBA does not pass the due diligence test.
     -  Filings from China suggest that the company has been overstating revenues.
     -  it's biggest acquisition has seen most its revenue vanish and over 50% of shareholder equity should be impaired.
     -  Best businesses are spun off at deflated prices to insiders,
      - Less successful business segments kept in the company and dressed up so the financials appear better.
In short: Grizzly Research's analysis leads it to believe that WUBA is a fraud vehicle that primarily exists to enrich insiders and to raise money from US investors on the back of fake financials.

February 26, 2020, in GMT Research's Accounting Insights newsletter, it commented on the Grizzly report.  In conclusion it noted :-  "While the movement of businesses off-balance sheet has distorted 58.com’s performance and may have disadvantaged minority shareholders, we cannot verify claims that revenue is overstated. Furthermore, arguments that goodwill should be impaired appear weak. 58.com’s share price has only fallen 7% since the report’s publication, and management has not bothered to issue a rebuttal. Although we find the report unconvincing, we are no fan of the company which we believe should be avoided until governance and transparency improves."

Grizzly Research: Report on 58.com, 13 Feb 2020
GMT Research:  Accounting Insights, 26 Feb 2020
58.com:  Annual report 2016
58.com:  Annual report 2017
58.com:  Annual report 2018