UPDATE 1-Einhorn identifies leaker of stock purchase, drops lawsuit
(Adds comment from Seeking Alpha, background, details, byline)
By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK, March 24 (Reuters) - Greenlight Capital Inc, the hedge fund overseen by David Einhorn, said on Monday it has unmasked the identity of an anonymous blogger who disclosed Greenlight's stake in a semiconductor company, and dropped a lawsuit to force website Seeking Alpha to reveal the blogger's name.
Greenlight did not publicly disclose the name of the blogger, who under the pseudonym "Valuable Insights" revealed on Nov. 14 that Greenlight had been buying shares of Micron Technology Inc.
The New York-based firm eventually disclosed at the Nov. 21 Robin Hood investment conference that it had been buying Micron shares. But it said the leak caused Micron's share price to rise, forcing the firm to pay higher prices and hurting its investors.
Einhorn's firm had begun civil litigation last month in a New York state court to identify the Seeking Alpha contributor.
"Greenlight has identified the anonymous blogger and has resolved the matter privately to our satisfaction," a Greenlight spokesman said.
Seeking Alpha's website has identified Valuable Insights as a fund manager with nearly 20 years of investment experience.
A spokesman for Seeking Alpha said on Monday the website did not reveal the blogger's identity, and that Greenlight "dropped the suit of its own accord.
"We continue to support third-party posters and their decision as to whether to publish under real or assumed names," the spokesman said. "We believe in the value that pseudonymity builds for the community."
It is common for news to be leaked in the financial media, which often enjoy broad free speech protection, but rare for investors to litigate over leaks that cost them money, which Greenlight called "misappropriation of trade secrets."
Investors like Einhorn and Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway Inc often try to keep their buying quiet, including by obtaining confidential treatment from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, to keep other investors form mimicking their activity.
Greenlight said it had requested confidential treatment from the SEC for its Micron purchases on Nov. 14, the same day as the blog posting.
In that posting, Valuable Insights wrote that a "mega hedge fund rock star" other than Daniel Ackman, Carl Icahn and Daniel Loeb would be investing in Micron.
After another writer guessed that "Einhorn" was the buyer, Valuable Insights wrote, "You heard it here first."
Micron's shares closed at $18.92 on Nov. 13. They closed at $19.19 on Nov. 14, and rose as high as $19.88 before Einhorn formally revealed he had taken a stake.
Greenlight said it owned 47.7 million Micron shares as of Dec. 31. The shares closed on Monday down 18 cents at $23.48 on the Nasdaq.
The case is Greenlight Capital Inc v. Seeking Alpha Inc, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 151327/2014. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler and Leslie Adler)
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