Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. stock surged 4.3% in midday trade Friday, on volume that was nearly double the full-day average, as talk circulated on trading desks that a home improvement retailer could be interested in buying the hardwood-flooring seller. The stock had been up as much as 12% earlier in the session. Whitney Tilson, a founder of hedge fund Kase Capital Management and a known short seller of Lumber Liquidators shares, said he heard a rumor that Home Depot could buy the company for $35 to $40 a share, which is 63% to 86% above current levels, but he laughed it off. "This is the dumbest rumor ever," Tilson said in an emailed statement. "Nobody is going to buy Lumber Liquidators, nor will any bank finance an acquisition or management buyout (even in this debt-markets-wide-open environment), because nobody--not me, not the company, not the lawyers suing Lumber Liquidators--has any idea what the liabilities are--but they are potentially large and open-ended." Lumber Liquidators was not immediately available for comment. Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel Corp. and co-portfolio manager of the Chase Growth Fund said in a recent interview with MarketWatch: "Our biggest mistakes have always centered around companies in dicey legal situations. It's unanalyzable."
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