Hindenburg Research, a US-based short-seller firm, has been in the news since January 24 when it released a report stating that the Adani Group is artificially boosting its share prices and is overvalued by over 80 per cent. Since that day, the group has cumulatively lost over $66 billion in market capitalisation. Gautam Adani, who was the second richest person in the world just days ago, has slipped to the seventh spot in the Forbes ranking.
In response to the allegations, the Adani Group issued a 413-page response on Sunday saying that the report "is nothing short of a calculated securities fraud under applicable law".
"This is not merely an unwarranted attack on any specific company but a calculated attack on India, the independence, integrity and quality of Indian institutions, and the growth story and ambition of India," the conglomerate said.
In response, Hindenburg said that Adani's response "largely confirmed" its findings and that "fraud can not be obfuscated by nationalism".
But behind all the fiasco is the hitherto relatively unknown founder of Hinderburg Research, Nathan 'Nate' Anderson.
Who is Nate Anderson?
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Nate Anderson is a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a degree in international business. According to a Bloomberg report, Anderson grew up with a penchant for asking "big questions".
In Wall Street Journal's Bad Bets podcast, Anderson said that as a child he tried and failed to convince an Orthodox Jew rabbi that the Book of Genesis was incompatible with the modern theory of evolution.
Between March 2004 and January 2005, he served as an ambulance media in Israel. Then, after working in several investment firms, he founded a financial services firm ClaritySpring.
Later in 2018, he founded Hindenburg Research.
According to Anderson's LinkedIn profile, "Hindenburg Research specializes in forensic financial research. Our experience in the investment management industry spans over a decade, with a historical focus on equity, credit, and derivatives analysis. While we use fundamental analysis to aid our investment decision-making, we believe the most impactful research results from uncovering hard-to-find information from atypical sources."
Gabriel Grego, the founder of Quintessential Capital Management told the Washington Post (WaPo) that Anderson had worked with him on a project earlier and was "an extremely intelligent person" with a "great sense of humour".
"He's incredibly productive; he works very, very, very, very fast," he was quoted as saying by WaPo.
Anderson shot to fame in 2020 when his company released a report on electric vehicle maker Nikola alleging that the company was "misrepresenting" the technology. The agencies in the US launched a probe into the matter and Nikola's founder Trevor Milton was arrested and convicted of fraud charges.
Hindenburg reportedly said that the employees of the company and whistleblowers helped them with the findings.
With each passing day, the tussle between the two companies is only intensifying. It might be some time before the situation calms. But for Adani, and many Indians, Anderson is no longer a stranger.