Saturday, July 13, 2013

Leap Wireless (LEAP) - Takeover Comes; Did a Cheater Ride Along? How to Make 7,000% in 3 Minutes

LEAP closed Friday at $7.98, up 2.5% with IV30™ up 1.4%. The LIVEVOL® Pro Summary is below.


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Leap Wireless International, Inc. (Leap) is a wireless communications carrier that offers digital wireless services in the United States under the Cricket brand. Leap’s Cricket service offerings provide customers with unlimited wireless services for a flat rate without requiring a fixed-term contract or a credit check

But then this happened:

AT&T said it has an agreement to buy Leap Wireless for $15 per share in cash, or just under $1.2 billion.

Before the announcement, shares of Leap closed at $7.98. They have almost doubled in after-hours trading and are now above the purchase price, indicating investors believe another bidder may emerge.

Source: CNBC via Yahoo! Finance AT&T to Buy Leap Wireless for $15 a Share in Cash

I actually used to make a market in LEAP options in 2008 and even back then it was a take-over name. Back then it traded over $50...

Anyway, Doris Frankel called me up from Reuters almost immediately after this news hit the wire and asked about some of the order flow today... In my opinion, there is a substantial chance that insider information was leaked and traded on to garner absurd profits (like 7000% in a day). But it was done like a pro...

Here are the facts:

1. Let's turn to the Stats Tab.

a. The firm averages 1,001 calls traded a day over the last three-months and saw 6,789 options trade on Friday.
b. The call to put ratio was nearly 20:1

2. Some highly unusual options were purchased. The Options Tab is included below.

a. Check out those Jul 9 calls. Those are options that expire in a week and have almost no OI. But on Friday, more than 1,300 traded for an average price of ~ $0.10. How fortunate, with the stock trading at $16 after hours, those $0.10 options are now worth at least $7.00 -- or, 7,000% of their purchase price.

b. The Aug 9 calls see similar action, bought for ~$0.40, but with substantial OI.

The interesting thing here is that option orders (the purchases of the OTM Jul and Aug calls) were pretty small. I've included the Jul 9 call action, just looking at orders greater than 25 lots.

Check out how many orders there were. And the sizes range from 27 to 164 lots -- nothing large and obvious. But, here's the trick... Look at the far left hand side. The timing of the purchases -- they all happened within a three-minute window and just 15 minutes before the close. Coincidence? Well, that would be something.  Feels like someone hiding size by breaking it into smaller trades...

Obviously it's possible this was not improprietous behavior... But it ain't looking good...

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