Earlier today I posted two versions of Senator Edward Markey's letter regarding Herbalife. Read that post first.
The Bill Ackman version was dated January 22, 2014.
The Edward Markey version was dated January 23, 2014.
This letter was highly market sensitive, and trading on it in advance would be insider trading under either the Stock Act or the Supreme Court decision in the R. Forster Winans case.
I have no evidence however that anybody traded. I only note the sensitivity of the letter.
I also tartly noted that Michelle Celarier's New York Post article on Senator Edward Markey's letter had the letter dated January 22, 2014 - the same date as the letter on Bill Ackman's website.
This caused a minor stir in the Twittersphere. Witness this exchange between Josh Brown and Michelle Celarier.
Previously Michelle Celarier insisted that she pulled the letters of Markey's website and that maybe Markey had updated them at some later stage:
As Michelle Celarier has called me "full of sh-t as usual" I feel the need to defend myself.
I note, other than the date, there is one substantive difference between the letters on Ackman's website and the one on Markey's website.
Here is the signature block on the Ackman-website letter:
Note that the signature is in grey.
And here is the signature block on the Markey-website letter.
Note that the signature block is in blue.
I have checked many letters on Senator Markey's website.
As far as I can tell he always signs in blue.
The conclusion I have is that the letter on the Ackman website is a scanned letter.
This conclusion is confirmed by looking at other details. The Ackman-website letter for instance renders Edward Markey's letterhead unreadable:
(The picture really is that faint.)
By contrast the Markey letter has a readable letterhead:
The document properties are also different. The Markey version was produced on a Hewlett Packard MFP.
The Ackman-website version was produced on an eCopy ShareScan.
The letter put up by the New York Post was not the original letter. It was a scanned letter. It was also produced on an eCopy ShareScan and it has the same legibility issues as the Ackman-website letter.
Michelle Celarier is likely mistaken about where she got the letter from.
An update is warranted: Google Cache clearly shows a letter dated January 22 was at one stage on Senator Markey's website.
However this does not obviate the fact that Michelle Celarier's copy of the letter was a scanned copy with Pershing Square consistent metadata. However it does remove some suspicion as to timing of receipt of the copy.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Hempton. Mr. Hempton may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Hempton's recommendations. The commentary in this blog in no way constitutes a solicitation of business or investment advice. In fact, it should not be relied upon in making investment decisions, ever. It is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author. In particular this blog is not directed for investment purposes at US Persons.