Wrestlenomics’ Brandon Thurston is reporting that 2.1 million shares of WWE stock were sold on Wednesday, noting that the amount was 1.5 million shares more than an average trading day. According to Thurston, all of the stock was sold before news broke of Vince McMahon being investigated by the WWE board over cash settlements tied to numerous Non Disclosure Agreements (NDA) with former female employees, who were alleging misconduct by the WWE Chairman & CEO, as well as Head of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis.

Thurston goes on to share a section from the WWE Code of Business Conduct on insider trading, which reads:

Prohibition Against Insider Trading

The term “insider trading” refers to the practice of trading in securities while in possession of material non-public information, a practice which is prohibited under federal law. Any WWE Personnel trading while in possession of material information which he or she has reason to believe is not publicly available is acting contrary to Company policy and may be held liable for insider trading. Directly or indirectly “tipping” this information to another person who trades is also a violation of this policy. Information will be deemed “material” if it would be likely to influence a reasonable investor’s decision to buy, sell or hold securities. Any information about the advances, set-backs or over-all business plan of WWE or its business partners should be considered material. “Non-public” information includes any information that has not been made available to the public through a press release or a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. WWE Personnel with information about WWE or its business partners should consider the information “nonpublic” until the second full trading day following the wide-spread disclosure of that information.

The timing is very serious, as it suggests a high volume of WWE stock was sold off ahead of the bombshell report from the Wall Street Journal, which could fall under the definition of “insider trading” as described in the company’s own literature. When serious news like the investigation breaks, WWE Personnel is supposed to wait until the “the second full trading day following the wide-spread disclosure of that information,” before they can begin selling shares, or else the sales could be flagged by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.

The news is complicated by the fact that Morgan Stanley analyst Ben Swinburne raised the price target on WWE’s stock from $60 to $75, which likely increased trading of the stock on its own, which was then boosted again by the Federal Reserve raising interest to the highest they’ve been since 1994.

It cannot yet be determined which shares were sold due to the price target increase and market speculation from the Fed’s rate increases, and which shares -if any- were sold ahead of the WSJ report.

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