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Barry Diller on the Spot for Insider Trading, Nevada Pauses License Application

  • Written By Samantha Browne
  • Edited
  • Reading 3 minutes

Insider trading by Barry Diller is now the center of focus for the US Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Diller is a millionaire who also owns a stake in MGM Resorts International.

Nevada Puts a Hold on Barry Diller’s License Application

Following the recent accusations of insider trading, the Nevada Gaming Commission has put on hold Barry Diller’s license application. Diller is the IAC chairman and jointly hold a 14% stake in MGM Resorts with Joey Levin who is the CEO. It’s this ownership that gave both officials a chance to receive a Nevada license.

But damning reports by the Wall Street Journal make this a faint possibility. The report revealed David Geffen and Alex von Furstenberg bought a sizable number of stocks as Activision Blizzard prepared to shift owners to Microsoft. Furstenberg is Diller’s stepson while Geffen is a fellow billionaire. The acquisition deal was estimated at $68.7 billion, making it one of the biggest acquisitions in the industry.

Jennifer Togliatti who is the Nevada Gaming Commission chair said NGC will have to reconsider the license application. The brief statement by the chair explained that Diller will again have to go through a fresh vetting process to determine his eligibility to receive a license.

Togliatti further requested the return of Biller’s license application to the NGC. That also applies to his consequent recommendation. The NGC chair said both of them will be revised. Diller has since denied all accusations of any form of insider trading.

Diller said that none of them (he and Joey Levin) had any prior knowledge of any information touching on Microsoft’s potential acquisition of Activision. The IAC chairman further pleaded their innocence stating they simply believed Activision was greatly undervalued and acted on its potential being acquired or going private.

A Lucky Bet for Diller?

Diller continued to object to the idea of any form of insider trading and the fact that any of the accused parties would have information on the actual acquisition date to prompt them to buy such an amount of stock. Instead, he said it was a lucky bet.

But the Justice Department is having none of Diller’s explanation and has even moved to initiate criminal proceedings. The Justice Department will look to find out whether the accused parties truly took part in any form of insider trading. On his end, Diller continues to brush off the accusations saying he’s not bothered by the findings because there’s simply no way insider could be proven.

An IAC representative responded to the pause on the licensing process stating that the NGC simply delayed the application and not entirely throwing it out. As a result, they don’t foresee any issues moving forward in terms of IAC’s or Mr. Diller’s application.

Following this, Diller will be close to the end of a repeat NGCB review to determine his suitability to receive a license as well as approval from the commission.

Samantha has a passion for all things casino, especially for the development in new slots games and technology. She has a background in psychology and loves to study strategies behind gambling in her spare time.