accounting issues

Focus Media Management: Muddy Waters Has It All Wrong, Should Be Sued For Being a Rumor Monger

Focus Media Chief Financial Officer Kit Low disputed Muddy Waters’ claims on a conference call Tuesday with analysts, saying that the firm’s report misinterpreted LCD-display numbers and financial data. He said Muddy Waters concentrated largely on Focus Media’s mergers and acquisitions, but the company hasn’t made any “major acquisitions in the past three years” because it is putting more emphasis on its core business. Focus Media Chief Executive Jason Jiang criticized short-sellers in a message posted on his verified account on China’s Sina Weibo microblog service. “Why isn’t anyone suing these short sellers who are just spreading malicious rumors everywhere?” the message said. “These people should be punished according to the law!!!” [WSJ]

There’s at Least One Interesting Theory Out There About the Wells Fargo CFO’s Sudden Resignation

Last week, we told you about Wells Fargo’s announcement that their CFO gave himself an early birthday gift by throwing a retirement party for himself. As previously mentioned, Howard Atkins’s departure was a little mysterio and no one had any theories (crackpot or otherwise) on the Atkins’s march in. That all changed yesterday when Christopher Whalen, an analyst at Institutional Risk Analytics issued a report that stated that he, for one, wasn’t buying the “personal issues” story put out by the bank:

“The departure of Atkins, we are led to believe, was not merely the result of personal issues, but reflects an ongoing internal dispute within [Wells Fargo’s] executive suite regarding the bank’s disclosure,” he writes.

Whalen then goes on to argue that Wells Fargo’s “public behavior suggests significant problems in the bank’s internal systems and controls as defined by the Sarbanes-Oxley law. We further understand that some officials of [Wells Fargo], increasingly uncomfortable with the bank’s aggressive public disclosure regime, have reached out to regulators because of concerns regarding accounting issues.”

The Stagecoach Gang, for their part, is sticking to their story citing the “personal reasons” and their spokesman dismissed Whalen’s report with “pfffft” and a wave of the hand, saying, “I haven’t heard anything like that. It’s speculation. I’m not going to comment on it.”

Wells Fargo CFO Exit Tied to Disclosure: Analyst [The Street]