SonicBlue: A good stock to short

SonicBlue, makers of Rio and Diamond products and ReplayTV, are going through some turmoil at the moment.

Some time ago the board voted to have the company lend them large amounts of money to go and buy other companies’ stock with, for their personal gain. They then voted to make the loans “non-recourse”, meaning that if they failed to pay back the money, the company would be liable, not them.

The CEO of SonicBlue, Kenneth Potashner, decided that in the current climate this was not acceptable. His decision may, of course, have something to do with the new law that makes corporate executives personally liable for company fraud. He demanded that the directors pay back their loans—due for repayment next June, though of course the only thing making these guys repay their loans is their own stellar sense of ethics… yeah,right.

The rest of the board decided that they wanted to continue to pillage the company coffers. They voted to fire the CEO, and they’ve replaced him with Greg Ballard. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he was the CEO of 3dfx when that company went down the toilet.

Ballard claims that Potashner’s being fired immediately after questioning the board’s ethics is a complete coincidence.