Saturday, April 21, 2007

EXCLUSIVE! PlanetOut Going Down Faster than Mark Foley on a Senate Page

EXCLUSIVE! PlanetOut Going Down Faster than Mark Foley on a Senate Page
There's "Mad Money," and then there's crazy money...


Down on page 15 of their 2006 SEC filing, PlanetOut can't keep up the charade any longer and just admits it:

"We have a history of significant losses," they declare, outlining a litany of past failures and the myriad events that could lead to the company going out of business altogether. "If we do not regain and sustain profitability," the filing continues, "our financial condition and stock price could suffer."

Well, it did. And it continues to suffer. As the largest owner of gay media in America—their trading symbol is "LGBT" for crying out loud—one has to wonder what the consequences would be if PlanetOut (and all its subsidiaries:,,, The Advocate, Out , Out Traveler, HIVPlus, was suddenly no more.

What's that? You say you're shocked to find Queerty knows its way around an SEC filing? Well, hold onto your chiseled asses, then, boys, because you're going to be downright shocked when you read what John Carney of Dealbreaker said when we asked if he could give us a true pro's opinion on the reasons behind PlanetOut's ongoing 12-month decline...

Here's how John put it:

"All stock prices move because of the aggregate effect of buying and selling of investors and traders on stock exchanges. That's the universal DealBreaker answer to all these kind of questions because we're not stock analysts and we're very short post-hoc explanations of stock and market movements. "Short" is Wall Street speak for "we don't believe it works.

But we've never let our lack of expertise get in the way of sharing our opinions before so we won't start here. PlanetOut has a chart that's almost painful to look at. It's slid from highs a couple of years back around twelve bucks down to Vonage territory. The company has been chopped-down by Wall Street analysts, who have noted declining revenues from ads and travel biz. Mounting debt and insider sale last year probably don't help. It's not clear what the companies core business is. Is it a publishing company? A travel site? A web 2.0 portal? Investors don't like companies when they can't tell what it's supposed to be doing.

To make matters worse, at start of the year PlanetOut adopted a "Shareholder's Rights Plan" which is the phrase companies use to describe something better known as a poison pill. Basically, it's a device that prevents an outside shareholder from acquiring the company without the consent of the insiders. These things hold down stock prices because they make acquisitions less likely and discourage outsiders from acquiring substantial portions of the company. No one has ever successfully swallowed a poison pill."

Do you work for PlanetOut now? Are you one of the lucky ones who's managed to escape? Want to tell us about your experience or share your take on this gay media quake? E-mail ( us. (Your anonymity is our guarantee.)


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