No One Intends to Be a Small Cap Company

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Gary Weiss and Mark Cuban are both making arguments that if you're the CEO Biovail or Overstock and your stock is death-spiraling toward small cap oblivion, you can't really blame an itty bitty research firm in Arizona for your company's overall poor performance. And we can't argue with that. No one's entertaining the notion that Patrick Byrne is was the next Jack Welch.
But if, hypothetically, you had a "shareholder activist" who ran a $7bln fund in Connecticut heavily invested in your company and that investor had the potential to bash your other shareholders over the head with a negative research report, you'd probably pay attention to that guy and you'd probably pay attention the firms positioned to issue the negative research reports.
That said, the primary difference between activist-bully and an activist-populist is perception and good press. How do we know this? Because we have a Venn diagram (see below) that says so. And as every first year analyst knows, anything is true if you put it into PowerPoint:

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