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Chris Bryant

Muddy Waters’ Latest Target Is Missing a Big Point

Carson Block has gone too far with some of his attacks on Burford, but the company should do more to address corporate governance concerns.

Taking aim.

Taking aim.

Photographer: /AFP

For a company whose senior management team is staffed largely by hard-headed litigators, Burford Capital Ltd. is doing a lousy job of fighting off an attack by short-seller Carson Block.

In a call with investors last week, Burford’s management declared confidently that its rebuttal of a highly critical report from Block’s Muddy Waters Research had “knocked it on the head.” Yet the shares of the London-listed company – which provides funding for corporate litigation – remain more than 40% below where they were when rumors of the impending short-campaign first emerged last week. This suggests Buford still hasn’t done enough to alleviate investor concerns, particularly regarding the company’s byzantine governance.