Let's analyze this deal.
The basics are this:
- 55% of the float will be bought up at $7.30 a share.
- Softbank will buy (from the company, either directly or via a convertible) a bunch of additional stock at ~$5.30/share.
- The stock currently trades at $5.70/share.
- The tender is not mandatory. If there are more shares tendered than offered to be bought some will not be purchased in the tender, but the other 45% of the float (however that remains outstanding) will convert to shares of "NewSprintCo" at 1:1.
So let's assume the company is currently "worth" the $5.30 convert price on the 45% not being tendered. This arrives at a blended price of $6.40/share, which is where the stock should be trading right now, or 70 cents above where it is trading.
But, this assumes you take a ratable share of the tender and the rest is valued at $5.30. That's a pretty pessimistic view of the world given the firm's execution and could be upset by any of the following:
- If the stock is actually worth $5.70 (as of today it is) then the ratable price is $6.58.
- If institutions hang onto the shares thinking they're worth more than $7.30 in the future then you can tender all of your holdings for $7.30, and your shares are worth $7.30.
- Or, you could hold your shares (refuse to tender) and take your chances with NewSprintCo.
Does this look like $5.70 is rational to you?
Me neither, unless the deal doesn't go for some reason.
As such the $6.00 February 2013 calls for $0.14 look damned attractive. If you get the lesser ratable price then these calls are roughly a triple.
If you get the higher ratable price they're a quadruple.
And if the tender has a lot withheld and the price rises to the tender, well then they're approaching a 10-bagger.
And if something goes wrong with the deal? They're pretty damn cheap lottery tickets at $14/100, but if the stock is under $6.14 in February they're still a zero.
I don't particularly like the idea of buying the underlying here, although since I own it and have a massive profit, I'm sitting -- but prepared to get rid of the stock if something goes wrong. My OCO orders from the day the story broke and then was confirmed did not go off. I just don't see the reason to play the underlying here given that upside is ~10-15% on a ratable basis and you missed a 100%+ home run already. Naw.
The call play, on the other hand, looks kinda obvious to me, and it looks like it appears so to others as well as nearly 26,000 of those contracts have traded today; while someone sold 'em someone also bought 'em.
I doubt very much that the seller sold 'em naked; he or she may have been dumping a position (they're down a lot in price over the last couple of days as the froth has come out of the IV) and they may be a bit short-dated as expiry could well be in front of the deal's closure, but I still like it on a risk:reward basis.
Disclosure: The author is long those CALLs.