Greenidge Generation Stock Is a Risky Play That Just Doesn’t Pass the Smell Test

Greenidge Generation Holdings (NASDAQ:GREE) stock closed its first day of trading as a public company, with down 58%.

a crypto mining rig
Source: Mark Agnor / Shutterstock.com

In the six days of trading since then, it’s lost another 41%. It trades today at just above $25. Based on 9.63 million Class A and 29.04 Class B shares outstanding, the bitcoin/power generation/tech support company has a market capitalization of $981.5 million. 

Is Greenidge worth more than a billion dollars? I don’t think so.

Buy the massive GREE dip? Not bloody likely. Here’s why. 

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It’s a super stock!

Riffing off the old Superman saying, Greenidge provides investors with several businesses in one. You get a power generation company, a Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD) miner, and a legacy tech support business. 

What’s not to like? Plenty.

I wrote about Greenidge when it was merging with Support.com to take its Bitcoin mining operation public. I suggested that its stock could plummet if it didn’t adequately deal with its carbon emissions problem. 

“[T]he plant might someday find itself having to spend millions upon millions to fix its emissions problem. That would be costly and time-consuming. Secondly, if Support.com were to find itself operating alone again because of an environmental setback, investors would likely not give it another chance,” I wrote. 

“As a result, this stock — whether trading as GREE stock or SPRT stock — could probably get sent back to the $2 range. That’s where it traded as recently as May, worth a fraction of its current value.”

I finished my article by saying I doubted this scenario would happen. Furthermore, I had no clue its shares would lose 75% of their value in only seven days of trading.

Of course, it didn’t help that Bitcoin lost 11% of its value between Sept. 15-23. 

In case you haven’t noticed, businesses that tie themselves to the cryptocurrency price live and die by Bitcoin’s ups and downs. 

I’m not too fond of Bitcoin mining or Bitcoin miners, but that’s not what makes me question the validity of Greenidge’s business.

Support.com and GREE Stock

It would seem to me that the only reason Greenidge merged with Support.com was to become a public company to raise more capital for its future Bitcoin ambitions. 

This raises a question. Why Support.com? It could have merged with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), and then it hit me.

In early September, the first time I covered SPRT, I went over its 10-Ks between 2001 and 2020. Its best year for tech support was 2013, when it generated a $10.8 million operating profit from $88.2 million in sales.

Looking back at its 2005 10-K, 2006 10-K, 2011 10-K, 2016 10-K, 2018 10-K, and 2020 10-K, it had cumulative operating losses of $206.5 million, an average of $10.3 million annually over two decades.

`The company’s accumulated deficit at the end of 2020 was $208.8 million, so most of its historical losses were between 2001 and 2020.

In May, The Wall Street Journal mentioned Support.com’s $145 million in federal net operating loss (NOL) carryforwards. I hadn’t seen that article, but I just found the reference on page 58 of its 2020 10-K.

Greenidge can’t sell Support.com, or they’ll lose the NOL carryforwards. I’m not enough of a tax expert to know precisely how much they’ll benefit from them, but you can be sure the company will do whatever it can to shelter future Bitcoin gains. 

So, it occurs to me that not only are you getting power generation, tech support, and a Bitcoin miner; you’re also getting a tax avoidance scheme.

The Bottom Line

To me, the entire SPRT/GREE situation feels like nothing more than a bunch of Wall Street paper shufflers extracting value from thin air while creating nothing of lasting value.

Speculators will be sure to push GREE stock around in the coming days and weeks. As a result, it wouldn’t surprise me if it made a run back to S40.

However, you’ll have to do it without me. 

Between the emissions issue, tax loss carryforwards and a laundry list of supposed businesses it operates, it just doesn’t pass my sniff test.

Buy on the dip?

Sure, if the only thing you want to do is make a lot more money for a bunch of Greenwich private equity boys who are already rich.  

On the date of publication, Will Ashworth did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Will Ashworth has written about investments full-time since 2008. Publications where he’s appeared include InvestorPlace, The Motley Fool Canada, Investopedia, Kiplinger, and several others in both the U.S. and Canada. He particularly enjoys creating model portfolios that stand the test of time. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At the time of this writing Will Ashworth did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.


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