Dec 5 Big Lots Inc said on Wednesday
that U.S. securities regulators had not contacted the close-out
retailer and its chief executive officer about his $10 million
stock sale ahead of negative news on the company.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating the sale.
The trades were highlighted last week in a front-page Journal
story that said CEO Steven Fishman had sold $10 million of his
stock a month before Big Lots reported a surprise quarterly loss
that sent its shares down nearly 25 percent in a day. ()
"We have not received anything from the SEC," Andy Regrut,
director of investor relations for Big Lots, told Reuters.
Big Lots General Counsel Charles Haubiel said the SEC had
not contacted Fishman. The CEO did not learn about the
investigation until a Journal reporter called Haubiel on
Tuesday, after the company had already announced Fishman's plan
to retire next year, the general counsel told Reuters.
The company said Tuesday that Fishman would retire for
personal reasons, but would remain in the top role until a
replacement is found.
The SEC allows company executives to trade their own stock
by using a preset plan known as "10b5-1," even when they have
access to private information.
Haubiel said Fishman's departure was unrelated to the
The company told the Journal that the stock sale was made
"at a time when the company's trading window was open."
However, the company told the Journal that Fishman's March
trade - the subject of the SEC probe - was not made using the
Big Lots shares were down 3.4 percent at $30.21 in morning
trading on the New York Stock Exchange.