Saturday, 23 May 2015
Last updated 20 hours ago
Feb 14 2007 | 11:01am ET
Gradient Analytics, the independent research firm accused of conspiring with hedge funds to drive down stock prices, said today that the Securities and Exchange Commission has ended its probe into the firm.
Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Gradient was informed by letter from the SEC’s San Francisco office that the probe has ended and that the office recommended no enforcement action be taken.
“We are not surprised by the SEC decision,” CEO Brad Forst said. “Independent and objective research may be unpopular with some companies, but it is vital information in the equities market.”
The SEC opened its investigation after online retailer Overstock.com sued Gradient and hedge fund Rocker Partners, accusing them of trying to manipulate its stock price. Later, Canadian pharmaceutical company Biovail filed a similar suit against Gradient and another hedge fund.
Forst said he is confident Gradient will prevail in those cases, arguing that independent research is protected speech under the First Amendment.
“Our work represents both the right of free speech and the right of shareholders and investors to understand the questionable business practices of public companies,” he said.
Forst succeeded firm founder Carr Bettis as president and CEO in December. At the time, the firm denied that the move had anything to do with the SEC probe or lawsuits. Bettis remains chairman of Gradient.
Mar 20 2015 | 12:45pm ET
StreetWise Partners, a non-profit organization that works with low-income individuals to help them overcome employment barriers, raised over $275,000 at the 2015 Raising the Ante Charity Poker Tournament and Casino Event last Wednesday evening at Capitale. Here are some photos from the event. Read more…