One of the more interesting developments in a stock over the past few weeks which has nothing to do with momentum names or the Crimea is International Game Technology (IGT).
This slots maker is led by Patti Hart. A couple of weeks ago, she announced a dud current quarter, sending the stock down sharply. It seemed odd on the surface because gaming appears to be booming globally. There's nothing particularly out of favor about slots relative to the rest of gaming. Indeed, some slots makers in Asia have seen their stocks soar in the last year.
IGT is now trading in the $13s -- basically at 52 week lows -- after being well above $20 last year for most of the year. So what gives?
I've never been a big fan of Patti Hart's. She was on the board of Yahoo (YHOO) a few years ago, which hired Scott Thompson and then defended him amidst the scandal about his educational credentials.
To me, Patti has always come across as a wanna-be tech elite but who was far from it.
Early on in her tenure at IGT, she bought the company Double Down to help her transform the company into a version of Zynga (ZNGA), which was riding high at the time. The deal actually ended up working out very well for IGT. It's perhaps the best performing part of the company right now. People love playing online poker it seems.
But her management of the core slots business has been atrocious.
A few years ago at a shareholders meeting, she was asked why IGT wasn't more aggressively going into Macau. She said she wanted the company to focus on close-to-home opportunities.
A year ago, she faced a protracted proxy contest where several shareholders complained about her leadership. She ended up promising shareholders the world. We will never know the answer, but when you see her win a proxy contest like that, one wonders. There were a couple of good earnings reports right before and after the contest, and then a dud quarter. You can't help but wonder if she pulled forward a bunch of sales to make herself look good.
So, where do we go from here? I think Patti's got another proxy contest facing her. Unfortunately, she moved up this year's shareholder meeting to before she announced the poor results. So, if anyone wants to question her about that, they'll have to wait another 12 months to do so.
My guess is that she'll look to sell the company before then, so that she can ride off into the sunset and make herself look like a hero. Then she'll be able to get on a few more tech boards in the Valley and appear at all the great tech conferences around the world.