Those who have had a drivers license for more than 20 years will remember the card catalogues and periodical catalogues you had to search through to get information. Today, most of that can be found, fully automated, either on the internet or at your local public library. Now, let’s take that automation one step further: Asking a reporter who already knows.
Recently two cases — one involving a fraudster we had to track down for service of process, and the second a nickel mining due diligence investigation — had resulted in several articles in newspapers.
The fraudster had had several articles authored on him and had gone into hiding. So we called the reporter who had interview the fraudster. The reporter was more than happy to let us know how to get into contact with the fraudster and how to arrange for service. Heck, he was delighted to help so that he could get another story on this fraudster.
The nickel mining due diligence was a bit more difficult. When conducting a full due diligence investigation, not only do you have to check the principals, key employees and major suppliers and customers, but you also must check the industry as a whole: What is happening in the industry and what is likely to happen. Unless you follow an industry and know the players, your due diligence is going to be nothing but a review of what has happened, not what is going to or could happen. We therefore contacted several reporters that had written articles on the nickel industry and nickel mining. What we found was fascinating. Nickel mining is a small world. Both reporters with whom we spoke specialized in covering mining and metals, and both referred us to the same two analysts for nickel and the nickel industry – the only two analysts we found, world wide.
The reporters and the analysts were familiar with both the ore body that was to be mined and recent changes in refinery technology. A new method of refining nickel that was going to cut the cost of refining nickel by 20% to 30% was being put into operation in two Australian mines. While nickel prices currently remain at profitable levels for all producers, conventional refining will become too expensive as prices drop. As a result of this investigation, the financing sources stopped the financing of the mining company. To resume negotiations the mines would need to incorporate the new refining technology into their business plan.
Hence, by using reporters we were able to find a fraudster and see the future of the nickel mining industry. Don’t hesitate: Just call, introduce yourself, and work together with a reporter.