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Overstock.com Facing Dismal Fourth Quarter Numbers?

Yesterday, Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK) disclosed that it was forced to pay off its existing obligations under a Master Lease Agreement with U.S. Bank to avoid an anticipated default under its covenants on December 31, 2011. So far, Overstock.com has lost $16 million in the first nine months of the year compared to only a $1.1 million loss during the previous year's nine month period. The termination of the Master Lease Agreement by Overstock.com to avoid a pending default appears to confirm that it will report dismal fourth quarter 2011 numbers.

According to the 8-K report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission after the market closed on December 28, 2011:

On December 27, 2011 Overstock.com, Inc. (the “Company”) and U.S. Bancorp Equipment Finance, Inc. — Technology Finance Group (“Lessor”), agreed to terminate a Master Lease Agreement, dated September 17, 2010 (“Master Lease Agreement”) and all related schedules. The Company paid approximately $20.1 million to Lessor i…

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters: Where are the missing beans?

Just about every time I take a look at financial reports issued by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ: GMCR), I found troubling discrepancies in its numbers. In the past, I’ve described how certain so-called restated numbers which purportedly corrected accounting errors in its Timothy’s subsidiary don’t appear to add up. Now, I’ve found even more puzzling numbers which raise more questions of whether its restatements of financial reports were actually correct.

On September 28, 2010, Green Mountain disclosed that the SEC started an informal inquiry into its revenue accounting practices and relationship with a certain fulfillment vendor eight days earlier. On that same day, the company coincidently reported that it discovered an accounting error involving its K-Cup margin percentages during the preparation of its financial report for the period ended September 25, 2010. On November 19, 2010, Green Mountain disclosed that it found four new accounting errors. On that date, the company…

Did j2 Global Communications Fumble in Accounting?

Last week, I suggested that j2 Global Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:JCOM) could have misinterpreted certain accounting rules and that it should consider restating its financial reports issued in 2010. My analysis was based on a report issued by independent research firm Gradient Analytics and an examination of accounting rules and company disclosures. This blog post will examine how j2 Global has attempted to downplay certain problems in its financial reporting and provide even more compelling reasons for the company to consider restating its financial reports.

Background

Up to 2010, j2 Global apparently estimated the remaining life under its annual contracts with eFax customers to compute its deferred revenues, revenues, and earnings. In the first quarter 2011 10-Q report j2 Global disclosed that it upgraded its accounting systems and started using the actual useful life under its annual contracts with eFax customers to compute those numbers:

In the first quarter of 2011, the Company m…

Should j2 Global Communications Restate its 2010 Financial Reports?

j2 Global Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:JCOM) may have misinterpreted certain accounting rules and needs to consider restating its financial reports issued in 2010 based on certain new information it obtained from a “systems upgrade” in early 2011 that “permitted an accurate measurement of the remaining useful life” in its annual contacts with eFax customers.

Background

If a customer pays an annual fee in advance, a company reports a deferred revenue liability (unearned fees) because the fee is not yet earned. As time progresses on the annual contract, the company reduces its deferred revenue liability and increases its revenues as those fees are earned. Up to 2010, j2 Global apparently estimated the actual remaining life under those contracts to compute its deferred revenues, revenues, and earnings.

In the first quarter of 2011, j2 Global upgraded its accounting systems and started using the actual useful life under its annual contracts with eFax customers to compute deferred revenues, …

Nature's Sunshine Products, Willbros Group, Cal Dive International, and BSQUARE Violate S.E.C. Rules on Calculating EBITDA

Nature’s Sunshine Products (NASDAQ: NATR), Willbros Group (NYSE: WG), Cal Dive International (NYSE: DVR), and BSQUARE (NASDAQ: BSQR) have recently issued earnings reports which include a calculation of EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) that apparently does not comply with Securities and Exchange Commission interpretations for Regulation G governing such non-GAAP financial measures. In each case, their erroneous EBITDA calculations have enabled them to significantly distort their financial performance by erroneously reporting a positive EBITDA, when they should have reported a negative EBITDA in the latest quarter.

How EBITDA is supposed to be calculated under Regulation G

According to the S.E.C. Compliance & Disclosure Interpretations, EBITDA is defined under Regulation G as net income (not operating income) before net interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. See below:

Question 103.01Question: Exchange Act Release No. 47226 describes E…

Overstock.com (O.co): Insolvency Looming?

Updated at bottom of blog post to include analyst downgrade

Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK), also known as O.co, faces possible insolvency if current earnings trends continue and it cannot restructure two loans with U.S. Bank, its biggest creditor by March 31, 2012 at the latest. In an apparent effort to mask its weakening net working capital position, it played a shell game to window dress its balance sheet at the end of the third quarter (September 30, 2011). Overstock.com owed U.S. Bank $20.329 million under the “Master Lease Agreement” (sale-leaseback) and another $17 million under a “Financing Agreement” (line of credit). Therefore, the company owes U.S. Bank $37.329 million under two loan agreements.

Last week Overstock.com surprised investors by reporting a third quarter $7.8 million net loss (diluted earnings per share of negative $0.33) compared to a net loss of $3.4 million (diluted earnings per share of negative $0.15) in the previous year’s third quarter. Its net loss was $0.1…