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VOL. 128 | NO. 33 | Monday, February 18, 2013

Report: SEC Investigating Trading in Heinz Deal

AP

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NEW YORK (AP) – Federal regulators have opened an insider trading inquiry on the $23 billion acquisition of H.J. Heinz, according to a publish report.

Citing an unnamed source who was briefed on the matter, The New York Times reported Friday that the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking at "unusual trading" surrounding the deal for Heinz to be purchased by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, an investment firm that also recently bought Burger King. The report said regulators first noticed a suspicious spike in trading on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the SEC, Christina D'Amico, said the agency does not confirm or deny the existence of investigations. Representatives for Heinz, Berkshire Hathaway and the public relations agency representing 3G and Berkshire in the deal did not immediately return messages for comment.

In announcing the deal, Heinz said the company planned to remain in Pittsburgh and that the move would help it continue its transformation into a global business more quickly. In addition to ketchup, the company makes Classico pasta sauces and Ore-Ida potatoes, as well as a growing stable of sauces suited to regional tastes around the world.

The New York Times report noted that options trading in Heinz soared this week before the deal was announced Thursday morning. Call options let investors can place a bet on a stock without committing to buy the shares. Investors instead have the option to buy the shares later for a set price.

The report noted that the SEC often opens inquiries into trading activity after major deals without bringing charges later on. Heinz and the buyers haven't been accused of any wrongdoing.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 81 217 5,290
MORTGAGES 94 276 6,985
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 50 1,606
BUILDING PERMITS 186 514 12,493
BANKRUPTCIES 66 241 5,541
BUSINESS LICENSES 27 85 2,146
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 52 234 7,292
MARRIAGE LICENSES 10 53 1,511

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