June 3, 2009

Mark Cuban vs. SEC: Where's the Popcorn?

Just because we haven't been blogging much about the SEC's pursuit of Mark Cuban on insider trading charges doesn't mean we're not interested. It's just that insider trading is not a big focus for Corp Fin-types like us. Plus, Mark Astarita of SECLaw.com is covering the saga quite well, such as his latest blog about how Mark Cuban has turned around and sued the SEC for violating the Freedom of Information Act.

NBA fans know Cuban well as the prolific owner of the Dallas Mavericks, a guy not afraid to get fined by the league due to being quite outspoken. He's unlike any other sports owner - he's extremely active with fans and with the team. Cuban is an entrepreneur, having made billions during the Internet boom and he's always trying new endeavors - his latest being innovative distribution of films and a failed ShareSleuth.com (which was covering stock fraud stories before it went under). As you might expect from such a personality, Cuban regularly blogs, including this stab at the SEC.

By the way, a loyal Dallas fan noted that I confused sports teams because it was none other than Terrell Owens, formerly of the Cowboys, who famously told the media and fans to "get your popcorn ready." When I wrote my title for this blog, I completely forgot that T.O. said that...

SEC vs. Cuban: Now Comes the Weird Part...

As noted way back when this story first broke, a complicated aspect of the Cuban case is the strange involvement of a SEC Enforcement Staffer who hadn't been working on the investigation into Cuban's alleged insider trading - but yet felt compelled to send emails to Cuban about various aspects of his life while the case was being put together. This eventually led to Cuban responding to this rogue Staffer via email, copying then-SEC Chair Chris Cox.

Yesterday, the WSJ ran this article noting that the Staffer may be subject to discipline. For those that are alumni of the SEC (or any government agency for that matter), memories of former rogue colleagues must surely come to mind. I can think of more than a few. Those curious experiences truly are one of the beauties of working for the Gov...

SEC Approves NYSE's Reduced Listing Standards Requirements on Pilot Basis

On Monday, the SEC posted an order approving the NYSE's proposed changes to its listing standards that reduced its $75 million stockholders' equity and market cap requirements to a $50 million/$50 million standard. These changes are on a pilot program basis through October 31 - and became effective on May 12th.

Companies that are below compliance with the $75 million standard - but above the $50 million Pilot Program standard will be deemed to have returned to compliance. This will be welcome news to those companies that were "below compliance" but are working on remediation plans.

- Broc Romanek