SAC Says Cougar Purchase Based On Public Info

Oct 21 2011 | 9:44am ET

Hedge fund billionaire Steven A. Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors says its investment in Cougar Biotechnology—an investment currently under investigation by the SEC—was “perfectly reasonable” and based on publicly available information.

The $14 billion Connecticut-based hedge fund bought shares in the biotech company before it was bought by Johnson & Johnson in 2009.

"We have not been contacted by any regulatory authority related to this matter, but we would of course cooperate should there be an inquiry," SAC spokesman Jonathan Gasthalter told Bloomberg in an e-mailed statement.

The Wall Street Journal broke the story on Thursday that the SEC was looking into trades in Cougar by SAC and other hedge funds to decide if they had used inside information on the takeover.

SAC Capital, which hasn't been charged with any wrongdoing, bought 400 shares in Cougar in Q4 2007 and had upped that to 632,291 shares by Q1 2009, according to government filings. Cougar was bought by Johnson & Johnson in July of 2009.

The SEC is also investigating the role played by Leerink Swann, a Boston-based investment bank with an expert-network consulting arm. The WSJ says the regulator is looking to see if the firm leaked nonpublic information to traders.

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