Shares of Clover Health Investments closed higher on Friday after the insurer said it acted appropriately in not disclosing it was under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to Hindenburg Research, which published a critical report on Clover on Thursday, the company knew about the investigation months before it went public on Jan. 8 through a merger with a blank-check company.
The investigation poses “an existential risk … for a company that derives almost all its revenue from Medicare,” Hindenburg, a short-selling specialist, said.
Clover executives responded Friday that the Hindenburg report was “rife with ad-hominem attacks, sweeping inaccuracies, and gross mischaracterizations” and it had “concluded that the fact of [the Dep’s request for information was not material and was not required to be specifically disclosed in our SEC filings.”
The company also disclosed in a separate regulatory filing that following the Hindenburg report, it had received a letter from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission “indicating that it is conducting an investigation … relating to certain matters that are referenced in the article.”
Clover’s shares rose 5.7% to $12.93 on Friday after tumbling 12.1% on Thursday on news of the Hindenburg report.
As Reuters reports, “Hindenburg was the first major short-selling research house to publish a new report since the eruption two weeks ago of the battle between short-sellers and retail investors over GameStop Corp and a number of other stocks.”
Clover called the report “a desperate attempt for publicity while sacrificing any regard for the truth” and suggested the DOJ inquiries were standard practice for a company that works with the Medicare system.
But Hindenburg said, “The idea that a DOJ investigation is non-material when Clover derives nearly all its revenue from the government is farcical … If Clover was focused on simply doing the ‘right thing’ for investors, the DOJ investigation, as ‘routine’ as the company wants to make it appear, should have been properly disclosed to investors,” it added.
Clover is backed by venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya, who Hindenburg called the “King of SPACs.”