SEC Files Insider Trading Charges Against Mark Cuban - What Can Be Learned from His Blog?

The SEC charged Mark Cuban, internet entrepreneur and NBA Dallas Mavericks owner, with insider trading. I thought it would be interesting to see what could be uncovered by searching his blog. Mark Cuban is one of the very few celebrities who have been blogging consistently for many years.

The SEC charged Mark Cuban, internet entrepreneur and NBA Dallas Mavericks owner, with insider trading. Here's an excerpt from the SEC's press release:

The Commission's complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, alleges that in June 2004, Mamma.com Inc. invited Cuban to participate in the stock offering after he agreed to keep the information confidential. The complaint further alleges that Cuban knew that the offering would be conducted at a discount to the prevailing market price and that it would be dilutive to existing shareholders.

Within hours of receiving this information, according to the complaint, Cuban called his broker and instructed him to sell Cuban's entire position in the company. When the offering was publicly announced, Mamma.com's stock price opened at $11.89, down $1.215 or 9.3 percent from the prior day's closing price of $13.105. According to the complaint, Cuban avoided losses in excess of $750,000 by selling his stock prior to the public announcement of the offering.

Mark Cuban only provided a short response to the charges on his blog, blogmaverick.com, and claims the charges have no merit. Mark Cuban has a long history of posting on his blog so I was wondering what I could find regarding this issue. After some google searching, I found this 2005 post in which he did comment on his selling of mama.com stock. Here are excerpts:

I had purchased stock in Mamma.com in hope that it could be an up and coming search engine. I thought I had done some level of due diligence. ... Then the company did a PIPE financing. Im not going to discuss the good or bad of PIPE financing other than to say that to me its a huge red flag and I dont want to own stock in companies that use this method of financing. Why? Because I dont like the idea of selling in a private placement, stock for less than the market price, and then to make matters worse, pushing the price lower with the issuance of warrants. So I sold the stock.

He doesn't say he sold before the PIPE financing became public, but from the blog post, it appears he had nothing to hide regarding the sale. If he had thought it was insider trading, I can't see how he would post about it. This doesn't prove he's innocent, but it suggests he wasn't worried about insider trading charges.

Ken Tumin
Ken Tumin: Ken is the author of the BankDeals blog and has provided this article to BestCashCow.

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Comments

  • Sam Cass

    November 18, 2008

    It seems like the SEC would have better things to do than harass Cuban over $750,000. What about naked short selling or any of the other problems which have cost taxpayers and shareholders billions? Geez, what a way to waste taxpayer money.

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