There are a heck of a lot of companies out there with huge net cash positions on their balance sheet. This “company sitting on a huge cash position” can happen through a bunch of different corporate actions (the company can make a one time windfall, the company can sell off a big division, etc.) or even through a company just retaining all their earnings for several years in a row, but it generally happens through one of two paths:
Great points here. On the larger cap front, Palantir comes to mind. The company is sitting on gold bars (absolutely ridiculous, and they’re being sued over it) and over $1 billion in cash that just earns a ton of interest. The stock’s fanboys eat it up because it drives net profitability, but it’s completely missing the point as to the sheer inefficiency of excess cash, per your points.
Exhibit A is probably US vs. Chinese mega-cap tech where US mega-cap tech ploughed excess cash into stock buybacks, in some cases borrowing to turbocharge buybacks, whereas Chinese mega-cap tech hoarded cash and continue to trade at very low enterprise valuations.
GLPG is standout among negative EV biotech in absolute dollar (or euro) terms: they have ~ $4.05B in cash or ~ $63/share vs. a historical annual cash burn of ~ $6.70/share dropping to ~ $3.70/share following the divestiture of their legacy business. The plan is to follow the well-proven playbook of biotech value creation: shovel the cash into the incinerator of business development; which if executed well, can generate life-changing returns.
The elevator pitch is that public investors are being offered the opportunity to invest in a biotech venture firm run by an industry (maybe minor) rock star who is grounded in science and likely has a world beating rolodex at what in retrospect may be a cyclical trough in biotech valuations.
But wait, there's more: manic LPs are offering to sell you their interests at a 40% discount to NAV!
Many investors, perhaps yourself included, will not find this pitch persuasive; nevertheless it is (mildly) interesting to observe that framing the opportunity in these terms maybe makes it more somewhat more appealing to professional investors, many of whom love buying at a discount, vs. "let me introduce you to Yet Another Negative EV Biotech".