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Alternative Market Briefing

SEC files charges against North Street Capital for Winnebago share fraud

Friday, March 14, 2014

Benedicte Gravrand, Opalesque Geneva:

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday filed settled fraud charges in Connecticut against Alexander H.G. Mascioli and his "alter-ego, purported hedge fund, North Street Capital, LP (NSC)."

Mascioli and NSC, the SEC alleges, made a fraudulent offer in May 2012 to acquire all outstanding shares of Winnebago Industries, Inc.’s (WGO) common stock. Winnebago is a leading U.S. recreation vehicle manufacturer.

Apparently, Mascioli wrote a letter on NSC letterhead, offering WGO to acquire all their outstanding common stock for around $321m in cash. Although there were no assets and no financing agreement to back this up, he said he would be able to complete the transaction within two weeks.

On May 17, having not received a response to the May 9 offer, Mascioli sent a copy of the May 9 letter that he had modified to look like an NSC press release to Bloomberg, which subsequently posted the offer on its website, says the SEC in its announcement.

His offer was made public, and WGO’s stock price and trading volume increased. WGO’s stock closed at $8.51 on 17 May and opened the next day at $9.81 per share, an increase of almost 15%. T......................

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