Chanos says 'still short' HP, citing 'real issues'
Hedge fund short seller Jim Chanos hasn't given up on betting against Hewlett-Packard.
At the conference last July, the founder of Kynikos Associates touted his dim view on HP and revealed a short position on the stock—calling it "the ultimate value trap."
Four months later, HP announced a one-time charge of $8.8 billion relating to allegations of fraud tied to its acquisition of Autonomy, the U.K.-based business software and data company.
"As you recall, one of our [short] arguments was accounting issues and still is accounting issues at Hewlett," Chanos said Wednesday. He said he had first shorted HP stock "in the high 20s a couple of years ago."
"We covered a lot of the stock when it got down to low double-digits after the Autonomy disclosure," he said. But as the stock rebounded, "we began shorting it again," he added.
Since hitting decade lows in November 2012, HP stock has risen nearly 125 percent.
Chanos acknowledged that HP "has had a huge run—as a lot of value stocks have had this year—on the perception that it's a turnaround" story. He added he's "not convinced that's the case."
Hewlett-Packard has still "some real issues," Chanos said. "Their revenues are declining at about 10 percent annually, and it's across the board. It's not just PCs and printers. It's services, too, which everybody is sort of holding that out as their salvation."
In May, Chanos told "Squawk Box" he was also shorting HP-personal computer competitor, Dell. But in his Wednesday CNBC interview, he said, "We've covered our Dell since the last time I was on [the show]."
With no horse in the race anymore, Chanos said he hopes this drama continues "because it's hysterical" and "the 'he said, she said' aspects of it are just great theater."
"I guess [Dell shareholders] see a Hewlett-like hope for a turnaround," he continued. "That, in fact, the stock could double if the 'right stars align.' But I think that's a pipe dream."
As for the personal computer business overall, Chanos said it's tough because increasingly brands mean nothing, while more and more companies and users are going mobile.
"Then you have the Chinese," he cited as another reason. "Lenovo and Acer in Taiwan … are just crushing margins and are taking market share."