Well This Didn’t End Well:
Long Blockchain Delisted
Long Blockchain (LBCC) is being delisted by Nasdaq, which had earlier cited the company for “statements designed to mislead investors.”
The company, which made a dramatic pivot from iced tea brewing to blockchain at the height of last December’s bitcoin frenzy, announced it received a delisting determination letter from the exchange’s Hearings Panel. Last week, Long Blockchain said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that its annual report could not be completed on time.
“(The) registrant is still compiling information for the Form 10-K and the auditors have not completed their review of the financial statements,” the April 4 filing stated.
The stock sank 37% to 1.10 on the stock market today, hitting a record low. Long Blockchain will remain a public company following the delisting and its shares will continue to trade. The stock has an abysmal IBD Composite Rating of just 5, and its relative strength line is at an all-time low.
The day before it announced its name change and blockchain pivot, Long Island Iced Tea closed at 2.44 on Dec. 20. The very next day, the newly minted Long Blockchain’s stock reached an all-time intraday high of 9.49.
Among other Bitcoin-related stocks, Riot Blockchain (RIOT) was up 2%, Overstock.com (OSTK) fell 2.9%, Marathon Patent Group (MARA) edged up 0.85%, and Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) rallied 4.2%.
In a move to assuage shareholder concerns, Long Blockchain said in a press release Wednesday that its transition to the over-the-counter market “does not diminish the focus of its efforts to become a leader in blockchain technology.”
The company, which appointed its blockchain strategy committee chair Shamyl Malik as its new CEO in February, has been in hot water with Nasdaq in the past.
The exchange cited the then-Long Island Iced Tea on Oct. 9 over the market value of its listed securities. It was cited again on Feb. 15, when the company said it received a letter from the SEC that stated “the Staff believed that the Company made a series of public statements designed to mislead investors and to take advantage of general investor interest in bitcoin and blockchain technology, thereby raising concerns about the Company’s suitability for exchange listing.”
Management said it “strongly disagreed” and appealed to Nasdaq’s Hearings Panel.
Long Blockchain Is Born
When it announced the pivot, the company said it was in the “preliminary stages of evaluating specific opportunities” for blockchain. These included a blockchain infrastructure developer in financial services, a London-based foreign-exchange services provider developing blockchain and cryprocurrency technology for financial markets, and a smart-contract platform.
Bitcoin was trading for just shy of $20,000 at the time. Today it is trading for about $6,900, according to Coindesk.
Pai-Ling Yin, a USC business professor and director of the school’s Technology Commercialization Initiative, previously told IBD that companies that changed their name to incorporate the word blockchain are “taking advantage of investor excitement.”
“The most generous interpretation I can give is that investors believe that firms which acknowledge blockchain are forward-thinking and receptive to new technologies,” Yin said. “However, changing one’s name is a commitment to a long-term strategy, and I would be surprised if these firms had thought that through.”