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Nautilus Group President Kevin Lamar told SNEWS that the research in a Forbes magazine article dated Nov. 11 where a headline warned about the company, “Take a closer look and thanks get ugly” was researched from “a bias and tainted point of view.” “It’s a biased article to benefit some of the short-sellers,” he said. “There’s nothing really we can do but keep our heads down.” To several points in the article: He said the presumption that inventories were up 212 percent in the article was “apples to oranges” since in less than the last year the company has acquired two companies (Schwinn and StairMaster) and also acquired their inventories. In addition, Nautilus was stocking up for the busy fourth and first quarters. A note in the article about the Bowflex patent expiring in April 2004 is nothing new. Nautilus of course knows that but the company believes “other people will have a long way to go to catch us.” He said the company’s R&D is way ahead and is still in high gear, with new products coming. “Issues like this are going to come up. They’re going to nit-pick at us because we’re on the radar screen for whatever reason,” Lamar added.
SNEWS View: With the announced hiring last week of a PR agency, The Nautilus Group may be able to open the curtains a bit wider and therefore lessen attacks like this while disseminating information as needed. The media will always respond with suspicion if no one answers questions or only does so with “no comments,” developing into a perception of more so-called bad news compared to if a company just talked initially. The Nautilis Group (now Direct Focus) has never had a PR agency — perhaps never needed one before this. But times have changed.