The Securities and Exchange Commission announced yesterday that it has reached a settlement agreement with Michael A. Glickstein and his New York-based investment advisory firm, G Asset Management LLC, after charging Glickstein with fraud. The charges stemmed from a “misleading press release” issued by Glickstein in February 2014 in which G Asset offered to purchase a majority stake in Barnes & Noble.
The problem with the offer, the SEC said, was that “G Asset had no ability to finance its purported offer to purchase Barnes & Noble and no reasonable basis to believe it could finance its offer in the future.”
At the time of the offer, B&N executives dismissed the bid, noting that in G Asset’s release it acknowledged it did not actually have the financing in place to make an offer.
Glickstein issued the release because G asset had purchased “thousands of Barnes & Noble shares and short-term call options, intending to profit by selling the shares and options after issuing the press release.” The release stated that G Asset was willing to pay $22 per share to buy a 51% stake in B&N at a time when the company’s shares were selling for $17.05 per share. The offer caused the New York Stock Exchange to temporarily halt trading in B&N’s stock. G Asset’s funds earned $168,000 in profits from the sale of B&N’s stock and options.
Under the settlement, G Asset and Glickstein, agreed to settle charges that they violated the antifraud provisions of the securities laws and a related SEC antifraud rule. Without admitting or denying the findings in the SEC order, Glickstein and his firm consented to a settlement that requires them to return $175,000 of allegedly ill-gotten gains and interest. G Asset also agreed to be censured and Glickstein agreed to pay a civil penalty of $100,000 and be barred from the securities industry for a minimum of five years.
For a detailed look at Glickstein and his actions check out this Forbes article.