Watchdogs for the US Securities and Exchange Commission are snuffling around the rump of a January 14 spike in trading in BlackBerry options that took place hours before Reuters reported that Samsung Electronics was in talks to buy the Canadian smartphone maker.
One trade took place at 12:06 p.m. on that day, when there was a purchase of options with the rights to buy 200,000 shares of BlackBerry stock at a strike price of $10 a share.
In the afternoon, Reuters reported that Samsung had offered to buy BlackBerry for as much as $7.5 billion, valuing its stock at between $13.35 to $15.49 per share.
BlackBerry’s stock shot up 30 percent on the news meaning that someone was laughing all the way to the bank. If the buyer had been able to sell the options at that high they would have been able to make a profit of $490,000 on a $20,000 investment.
Both companies later denied they were in talks and BlackBerry’s shares tumbled. Reuters subsequently corrected its story to make clear that the discussions were between advisors.