Risk & Compliance

Ex-Finance Exec Settles Insider Trading Charges

SEC charges that director of finance at fruit basket e-tailer traded on Liberty Media deal before information was public.
Stephen TaubMay 21, 2008

A former finance executive for Provide Commerce has settled insider trading charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Gordon C. Bigler, director of corporate finance and investor relations for the e-commerce company that sells fresh flowers and fruit, has consented, without admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint, to a final judgment permanently enjoining him from future violations of certain securities rules.

He also agreed to pay $41,622.78, representing the disgorgement of his illegal trading profits and prejudgment interest, and to pay a civil penalty of $41,622.78. According to the SEC, Bigler traded in Provide Commerce stock immediately after learning confidential information about its pending acquisition by Liberty Media, which is in the media, communications, and entertainment businesses.

The SEC complaint alleges that Bigler learned of Liberty’s proposed acquisition price for Provide Commerce of $33 per share prior to the merger in an E-mail message from Provide’s chief financial officer on November 15, 2005. Reportedly, Bigler traded within an hour of receiving the inside information, buying 4,500 Provide Commerce shares.

On the first trading day after Provide publicly announced the acquisition, Provide’s stock price increased more than 10.5 percent, and its trading volume surged 1,045 percent. Shortly after the announcement, Bigler sold his Provide shares for a profit of $41,622.78, according to the SEC suit.

Bigler, who joined Provide in September 2005 as director of corporate finance and investor relations, could not be immediately reached for comment.

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