The rumor that suggests Samsung wants to buy BlackBerry is getting even juicier. First, both firms have already denied that there are any talks ongoing. Second — someone might have made a lot of money trading BlackBerry stock on the rumor, perhaps even after planting it, and now the Securities and Exchange Commission wants to get to the bottom of who might have been the culprit.
According to Reuters, the SEC is examining a specific trade at 12:06 p.m. on January 14 — the day the rumor hit — when a trader placed an option to buy 200,000 BlackBerry shares priced at $10 a pop; the option was priced at 10 cents a share, Reuters said, which meant it was a $20,000 investment.
No biggie, right? Except just hours later, the rumor hit the newswires that Samsung was interested in buying BlackBerry for as much as $15.49 per share – skyrocketing the price of BlackBerry stock to $12.60 on the day. That resulted in a $490,000 profit for whomever placed the big trade earlier — if he or she was able to sell the shares — and that’s why the SEC has its nose in the game.
Reuters said Friday that the SEC is now investigating whether or not the source who provided information to the news outlet had ties to the big options trade. If he or she did, then they will face criminal charges for market manipulation.