THERE IS A SUBSTANTIAL RISK OF FAILURE ASSOCIATED WITH MTY FRANCHISES. MTY AVERAGED AN 11% CLOSURE RATE IN FIVE YEARS WHILE CHARGING FRANCHISEES $239 MILLION IN KICKBACKS ON TOP OF REGULAR FEES. THEY CLOSED 2,594 LOCATIONS FROM 2016 THROUGH Q2, 2021. KICKBACKS CAUSE FRANCHISES TO COLLAPSE!
MTY’S BOARD MADE FALSE STATEMENTS TO INVESTORS WHILE ENGAGING IN A COVER-UP TO CONCEAL THAT IT WAS REPORTING FALSE DATA TO HIDE THAT ITS FRANCHISE NETWORK IS COLLAPSING. ITS CHAIRMAN, STANLEY MA, SOLD $43 MILLION OF STOCK WITHOUT CORRECTING THE FALSE STATEMENTS TO INVESTORS—POTENTIALLY COMMITTING INSIDER TRADING. MTY THEN INCREASED KICKBACKS BY $5.3 MILLION ON FRANCHISEES AND AUTHORIZED $3 MILLION IN ANNUAL DIVIDENDS TO STANLEY MA.
Potential Regulatory & Criminal Violations Timeline
Updated September 19, 2021
The following is a timeline of events related to numerous potential FTC and criminal violations reported to MTY Food Group and Cold Stone Creamery.
April 12, 2021 – After a long history of selling no shares, MTY Chairman Stanley Ma announced he’s selling more than $42 million in stock. This announcement came after Stanley Ma dispatched CEO Eric Lefebvre and Audit Chairman, Gary O’Connor to make false statements to investors (see February 24, 2020 below) to cover-up the fact that the whistleblower allegations were true. Thus, Stanley Ma was trading overpriced stock on inside information that the whistleblower allegations were true while, based on MTY’s repeated false statements and failure to publish a material impact statement, the public was left in the dark and had every reason to believe the allegations were not true.
March 19, 2021 – MTY announced that board member David K. Wong unexpectedly resigned from the board.
March 26, 2020 – Cold Stone published its 2020 FDD. The document maintained numerous whistleblower allegation changes. In addition, Cold Stone claims its total international locations grew by 5 from 341 stores to 346 stores during 2020 despite that entire Singapore market closed. We believe this data is false and a cover-up attempt.
March 27, 2020 – Cold Stone published its 2020 FDD. The document included numerous whistleblower allegation changes. In addition, Cold Stone claims its total international locations grew by 13 to 341 stores during 2019.
February 13, 2020 – March 18, 2020 – MTY’s stock fell from $59.73 on February 13, 2020—the day before the company announced the whistleblower allegations—to a low of $16.58 on March 18, 2020. Shareholders lost nearly $1.1B in value.
March 9, 2020 – Forbes published a second article questioning the truthfulness of MTY, Lefebvre and O’Connor’s statements made to investors regarding the allegations.
February 24, 2020 – Following MTY, Lefebvre and or O’Connor’s statements that the whistleblower allegations were “baseless”, “dealt with” and that Cold Stone would always grow, MTY’s stock soared 9% in trading on the good news. This was despite that Restaurant Brands International Inc., MTY’s nearest competitor, and the market were -1.6% and -2.0%, respectively, and analysts were underwhelmed with MTY’s financial performance. Therefore, it appears that securities investors were relying on the statements of MTY, Lefebvre and or O’Connor that all is well.
February 24, 2020 – Prior to the market opening but following the press release above, MTY held its investor conference. During the conference, CEO Eric Lefebvre reiterated O’Connor’s statements above. In addition, following one analysts’ question regarding pace of Cold Stone’s closures, Lefebvre stated, “[O]bviously, there’s always going to be more store openings than more store closures for Cold Stone just because it’s such a big brand…. [T]hings are going to go well” (“Lefebvre’s Statement” or “Statement”).
February 24, 2020 – Prior to the market opening, MTY issued a press release quoting Gary O’Connor, Chairman of the Audit Committee, claiming the board of directors had investigated the whistleblower allegations and determined, among other things:
- They were made by an “active employee”.
- They were found to be “baseless”.
- They were previously “evaluated and dealt with”.
- The company cannot give further details about the allegations.
February 23, 2020 – On Sunday afternoon, MTY announced it would issue its Q4, 2019 results at 6:00AM EST the following morning and hold its postponed investor conference at 8:30AM EST the same day.
February 14, 2020 – One day after the attorney communication above, MTY issued a press release announcing the allegations by a “whistleblower employee”. The announcement was followed by numerous negative media publications. The stock also “tumbled as much as 13%, its biggest intraday decline [at the time] since October 2005”. In addition, one investment community expressed concerns and criticized the lack of transparency by MTY.
February 13, 2020 – A U.S. attorney speaking on behalf of MTY responded and acknowledged receipt and review of the whistleblower allegations. The attorney also warned of potential legal consequences if we published the allegations.
January 2020 – An attorney, acting on our behalf, reported numerous potential U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) violations to MTY.