The SEC charged Mark Cuban with insider trading today relating to a dump of Mamma.com stock back in 2004. Can’t anyone see, this is just what we need right now?
While the workings of a GM/Ford bailout are being hatched in some secret bunker in Flint, Michigan, we can all pick apart lovable eccentric NBA owner and billionaire Mark Cuban. Can’t you just imagine the TV coverage for the rest of the day?
ESPN will be out in full-force trying to figure out how the charges will affect Dirk Nowitzki’s shooting game. The View will take us on a trip down memory lane on how similar charges took our beloved Martha Stewart away from us for a little while. And since I started watching CNBC earlier this morning, I’ve already heard them ‘update’ us on the unchanging status of this story at least 20 times.
So here’s the deal. Back in ’04 Cuban was a big shot investor in Mamma.com, which to this day looks like a pretty crappy search engine. One day ‘The Cube’ gets a call from Mamma’s CEO saying he has ‘confidential information’ to share with him, can he proceed? Cuban agrees to keep it all hush hush and then finds out they were going forward with a private investment in a public equity (PIPE), which Cuban flips his shit over. Cuban realizes this move will dilute the value of his shares in the company. Cuban even admits over the phone to the C.E.O something like "I’m pissed you guys did this and now since you told me, I can’t sell, so I’m screwed."
BUT, less than 4 hours later Cuban is on the phone with his broker dumping all his shares of the company. The stock dropped almost 10% the next day and Cuban saved over $750,000 by selling early. Publicly, in an interview shortly after with Internetnews.com, Cuban explained that his hates PIPEs and sold off cuz he knew it would screw him. Sounds like a pretty solid case the SEC has. Between Cuban admitting both that he knew he couldn’t legally sell his shares after learning the confidential info and also later admitting the PIPE was the reason he sold off.
SAI: Cuban Statement Of Facts, November 17, 2008