The acquisition of Smithfield Foods (SFD) by Chinese company proved a major windfall for one investor in Thailand.
Badin Rungruangnavarat reaped a 3,400% return on investments he made in Smithfield stock over eight days. The employee at a Thai plastics manufacturer purchased thousands of call options and stock futures for Smithfield just prior to the merger’s announcement, USA TODAY notes.
That sort of profit and the timing of the investment immediately raised regulators’ suspicions. On Wednesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) seized Rungruangnavarat’s assets and has launched an investigation into the trades.
SEC officials say Rungruangnavarat opened a trading account a few weeks before the merger was announced and used it solely to acquire Smithfield stock, futures and options. Shortly after the merger hit the press, Rungruangnavarat attempted to withdraw $3 million from his accounts.
Authorities suspect that Rungruangnavarat learned of the impending deal from a friend employed by a firm that advised a potential Smithfield suitor.
Shuanghui International agreed to purchase Smithfield Foods for $4.7 billion in late May.