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From Securities Regulation Daily, June 15, 2015

Inside-trader in Apple target to cough up $2.8 million

By Anne Sherry, J.D.

A Swiss national who traded in AuthenTec stock after learning that Apple had set its sights on the company has settled with the SEC for $2.8 million. Helmut Anscheringer, who purchased options and shares not long before AuthenTec announced that Apple would buy it, agreed to disgorge his $1.8 million in profits, plus interest, and pay a civil penalty of $900,000 (In the Matter of Helmut Anscheringer, Release No. 34-75172, June 15, 2015).

Anscheringer learned from a longtime friend related to an AuthenTec executive that Apple intended to buy the company, which provided fingerprint sensors and software. According to the order instituting proceedings, Anscheringer made his first-ever purchase of AuthenTec stock on May 18, 2012, after speaking with his friend. In July, Anscheringer purchased call options, which accounted for nearly all of the options series trade volume on the dates he bought them. Several days later, he purchased additional shares of stock. After AuthenTec announced on July 27, 2012, that it would become a wholly owned Apple subsidiary for $355 million in cash, its stock price increased by about 60 percent. Anscheringer immediately liquidated his options and began selling his shares, profiting by over $1.8 million.

In a statement, Glenn Gordon of the SEC’s Miami office emphasized that Anscheringer’s location did not shield him. “Foreign traders in U.S. stocks are not exempt from SEC scrutiny,” Gordon cautioned, noting that Anscheringer had been listed as the beneficiary of a trading account belonging to a British Virgin Islands company.

The proceeding is No. 3-16589.

Companies: AuthenTec, Inc.; Apple, Inc.

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