DaVita Inc.: Warren and Charlie’s Excellent Insurance Gambit

Veteran card players pride themselves on their ability to discern what’s known as “the tell,” a series of involuntary mannerisms that can betray a rival’s strategic deceptions and even suggest a possible next move. On rare occasions a tell metastasizes into a red flag, a clear indication that something is terribly wrong. An example of the first is buried deep in a transcript of DaVita Inc.’s annual “Analyst/Investor Day” presentation in New York City.

BofI Federal Bank: Annals of the Bank of Misery

If you put together all the chief executive officers from the financial services industry in one room and asked them, “Who looks back on the years 2007 to 2009 with fondness?” it’s a very safe bet that only one hand would be raised. That hand would be on the arm of Gregory Garrabrants. The enterprise he has run since October 2007, BofI Federal Bank in La Jolla, California, is about as unlikely an institution to have prospered in those years as can be imagined.

Valeant: The End of the Michael Pearson Era

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, the corporate poster child for price-gouging, tax-inversion and hedge-fund manager wealth destruction quietly severed all ties with J. Michael Pearson, its former chief executive officer and longtime guiding light, in January according to its annual proxy statement filed this morning.

Synchronoss Technologies: The Friends and Family Plan

Dec. 6 was an extraordinary day for Synchronoss Technologies’ shareholders. They woke up owning a stake in a company with a market capitalization above $2.2 billion. By the day’s end, however, Synchronoss had purchased IntraLinks Holdings, an unprofitable data-room developer, valuing it as if its stock were worth almost twice its then share price. Also Synchronoss said it had struck a deal to sell its legacy business, the mobile-phone activation unit.

Canadian National Railway: The Great Railroad Construction Robbery

For much of the past two decades Canadian National Railway Co. has been credited with revolutionizing the North American railroad industry. A theory of former company chief executive E. Hunter Harrison — of “precision railroading” — made him an industry icon and his shareholders very happy. But in railroading, as in life, how one gets there matters.