Friday, August 19, 2016

Billions for Bigfoot?

In 2013, Bigfoot hunter Tom Biscardi founded a company called Bigfoot Project Investments (BGFT), dedicated to searching for the elusive cryptid. In order to raise money to fund various projects, he issued a stock offering this June for his company as a "pink sheets" firm. That is, he sold the stock over-the-counter on one of the country's least regulated markets. Then, about a week ago, the valuation of the company somehow soared to an astronomical ten billion dollars.

A $10 billion valuation puts Bigfoot on a par with Xerox, Discovery Communications and Gap — well-known companies with massive assets and popular products.

Bigfoot, by contrast, lists current assets of $221 in cash along with 73 original casts of Bigfoot footprints, a 109-inch skeleton and a rubber suit from a 2008 Bigfoot hoax. The filings helpfully explain that Bigfoot is known by 15 different names around the world, including Yeti in Tibet, Yowie in Australia and Hibagon in Japan.

In the "risk factors" section of the firm's SEC filings, the company discloses all the potential problems it could face, including problems relating to auditors, its burn rate, and potential future revenue issues. Nowhere does the company say that failing to find Bigfoot is a risk factor. In fact, Biscardi says the firm can make money even if Bigfoot is never actually located.

The firm lists Biscardi's salary at zero dollars: Bigfoot Project Investments is clearly a labor of love. The firm's market capitalization was so off target that even Biscardi — who owns more than 58 percent of the stock — was unaware of the listed market capitalization of the company when CNBC called him this week.

As it turns out, by Wednesday the ridiculously high stock price had disappeared. The SEC is still investigating, but it looks as if the valuation was based on some sort of computer error that affected the listed stock price. Once the error was corrected, it was gone. Biscardi, of course, was never actually able to claim his illusionary billions, but he plans to keep up the search regardless. He's not in it for the money, he's in it to prove the skeptics wrong.

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