The jury is still out on the ultimate fate of La Jolla hedge-fund maven Mike Stone’s attempt to wrest Qualcomm Stadium and its acreage away from public ownership, but the stock price of another of his investments with associate Nick Stone isn’t doing well. Back in May 2014, Stone, who runs an investment holding company called Ptolemy Capital, became chairman of an Australia-listed outfit known as AusTex Oil Limited that looks for oil and gas in Oklahoma and Kansas.
“Ptolemy’s most recent investment [in AusTex] included the purchase of ~$15 million preferred shares in December 2013,” reported Jay Snodgrass on the website SeekingAlpha.com. “This investment included the right to appoint three members to the board of directors and in November 2013 Nick Stone, a partner at Freestyle/Ptolemy, joined the board as an independent director.” Added Snodgrass, “Welcome aboard Mr. Stone — we look forward to a bright future with you at the helm.”
Since then, the direction of AusTex’s stock price has been distinctly down. “The stock has underperformed 98% of the Australian market over the past 6 months,” notes a May 30 report by Australian financial site NewsBites. “In the last one month, the stock has hit a new 52-week low thirteen times and in the last three months twenty-four times, pointing to a significant downtrend.”
In addition, “the Company’s Chairman, Michael Stone, has resigned as a director of AusTex with effect from 5 April 2017 for personal reasons. Mr. Stone advises that he will continue to be keenly interested in AusTex’s progress as a major shareholder of the Company with Mr. Nick Stone continuing to represent Ptolemy on the Board.”
Then, in a May 31 news release, AusTex announced that “Mr Nick Stone is stepping back from his responsibilities as Co-Managing Director effective immediately.” According to the latest word, “Mr Stone will be taking up the position of CEO at SoccerCity SD in San Diego, California,” and “has agreed to waive all non-executive director compensation for 2017. Mr Stone has not received any compensation from the Company since 2016.”