How and when was Hindenburg Founded?
Founded in 2017 by Nathan Anderson, Hindenburg Research is a forensic financial research firm which analyses equity, credit and derivatives. On its website, Hindenburg says it looks for “man-made disasters,” such as accounting irregularities, mismanagement and undisclosed related-party transactions. The company invests its own capital.
It was named after the high-profile disaster of the Hindenburg airship in 1937 which ignited as it flew into New Jersey. After finding potential wrongdoings, Hindenburg usually publishes a report explaining the case and bets against the target company, hoping to make a profit.
How does Hindenburg operate?
Hindenburg Research prepares its investigation report on a target company in six or more months by going through its public records and internal corporate documents and talking to its employees.
The report is then circulated to Hindenburg’s limited partners, who, together with Hindenburg, take a short position in the target company. Hindenburg takes profits if the target company’s share price declines.
Hindenburg Famous operations
Hindenburg is best known for its bet against electric truck maker Nikola Corp (NKLA.O) in September 2020. They were declining to specify the amount.
According to Hindenburg, Nikola deceived investors about its technological developments. Anderson challenged a video Nikola produced showing its electric truck cruising at high speed – in fact the vehicle was rolled down a hill.
A U.S. jury convicted Nikola’s founder Trevor Milton, Nikola’s founder last year of fraud over allegations he lied to investors. The company agreed in 2021 to pay $125 million to settle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over its representations to investors.
Nikola debuted as a listed company in June 2020 and its valuation reached $34 billion some days after, surpassing Ford Motor (F.N). Now, it is worth $1.34 billion. Hindenburg says whistleblowers and former employees helped it with findings.
Clover Health report and Chamath Palihapitiya
Hindenburg released a report about Medicare Advantage plan Clover Health in February 2021, claiming that the company neglected to inform investors about it being under investigation by the Department of Justice.
The report also argued that billionaire stock promoter and entrepreneur Chamath Palihapitiya neglected his due diligence and misled investors as he took the company public via special purpose acquisition company.
Hindenburg disclosed that it has no short or long positions in Clover. Immediately following its publishing, Clover Health dismissed the accusations in the report and stated it received a notice from the SEC.
Adani Group report
In January 2023, Hindenburg revealed that it had short positions in India’s Adani Group and flagged debt and accounting concerns.
Concurrently, Hindenburg released a report claiming that Indian conglomerate Adani Group “has engaged in a brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades.”
Soon after the report’s release, Adani Group companies experienced an acute decline in their share prices. In a follow-up piece, The Guardian indicated that Hindenburg called on the Adani Group to sue if they believed the report was inaccurate.
Hindenburg has also issued reports concerning the online betting operator DraftKings, the geothermal power plants company Ormat Technologies, electric car company Mullen Technologies, and a Chinese blockchain and crypto-mining firm named SOS.
In October 2021, Hindenburg announced a $1 million reward for information on how the Tether cryptocurrency is pegged to the U.S. dollar and for knowledge on Tether’s deposits. Hindenburg included that, at the time, they did not own positions in any cryptocurrency.
In May 2022, Hindenburg took a short position in Twitter, Inc. following the announcement of its acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk. After Musk’s attempted termination of the deal, Hindenburg took a significant long position on Twitter, betting against Musk on the acquisition to close.
On March 23, 2023, Hindenburg released a report on Block, alleging overstated user counts, accounts being used for illegal activities, a potential investigation from the SEC, and failing to ban fraudsters from its platform. This led to a 22% drop in the company’s shares before a partial recovery later in the day
Click here to know more about the Hindenburg report on Adani.