That $8 Billion Takeover Offer for Avon was Bogus

Associated Press
May 14, 2015

Jordan A. Thomas remarks on questionable Avon takeover filing

Avon said it had received no takeover offers Thursday after a purported $8 billion bid for the company filed with federal regulators led to three halts in the trading of its shares. Shares of Avon were halted several times due to volatility after the filing appeared on the website used by the Securities and Exchange Commission, a trusted source for investors. An entity calling itself PTG said that it had submitted a bid of $18.75 per share to the board at Avon. That was almost triple the stock's closing price on Wednesday, an enormous premium. The filing contained numerous typos, however, including varied spellings of the company's own name.

Jordan Thomas, a former lawyer at the Securities and Exchange Commission, said that a bogus filing with the SEC intended to push up the value of Avon's stock would be brazen act, much like using unwitting police officers to pull off a heist.

"It's not some bogus blog post that's gone through 15 different countries and servers," said Mr. Thomas, now a partner at Labaton Sucharow. "Any time you put out false information in the marketplace, you leave a trail that can be followed by law enforcement. This trail goes right through the SEC."