We need to explain a few things about the speech:
David gave the speech at a charity conference on May 15, 2002. The charity raises money by hosting an annual event where well-known investors share a few stock picks and pans with an audience that pays to attend the event. David’s best idea at the time was shorting the stock of Allied Capital. David had no idea that his speech would set off a firestorm that would take him on an unexpected journey.
The comment about WorldCom needs to be understood in context. At the time of the speech, WorldCom was not yet known to be a fraud, as it would reveal two months later. At the time, WorldCom debt was trading at 50 cents on the dollar (Greenlight owned some), and we thought it was money good. David was making the point that just because Greenlight could do an analysis to justify WorldCom debt being worth a higher value, it would have been inappropriate to do so, given the lower price in the market. David contended, this was exactly what Allied did with its own troubled debt investments in Velocita, Startec and the Loewen Group.
A minor factual correction: In the speech David states that Allied Capital owned 100% of Business Loan Express (BLX). Allied actually owned slightly less, with a sliver owned by BLX management.