A Short Seller Calls For-Profit Treasure Hunter a Sinking Ship

Photograph by Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP Photo

Exploring shipwrecks may provide fun and adventure, but whether it’s a good business is a different question. Perhaps the most well-known treasure hunter, Odyssey Marine Exploration, has made headlines for years, including last year when, as my colleague Susan Berfield reported at the time, Odyssey’s brash chief executive officer led the money-losing company in an (ultimately unsuccessful) battle to claim profit from coins found in a Spanish shipwreck. The company’s now in the limelight again, and not in a flattering way. Late last week, a young activist investor published a 66-page report (pdf) outlining an argument for why Odyssey’s stock “is worth $Zero.” The investor, Ryan Morris, alleged the company used offshore entities to obscure its true value, and the company let executives “live a life of glamor hunting the ocean while disappointed investors foot the bill.”

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