Former SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum indicted for insider trading

Daniel Birnbaum Photo: Shlomi Yosef
Daniel Birnbaum Photo: Shlomi Yosef

Birnbaum allegedly passed on privileged information to Ayala Cohen, a former company employee, who bought SodaStream shares, selling them for a big profit.

Two years after the matter first came to light, former SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum and a company employee Ayala Cohen were today indicted in the Tel Aviv District Court (Economics) for offenses involving insider trading and perverting the course of justice. The latter offenses were first revealed by "Globes," after Cohen gave a different version of events to a banker about the performance of SodaStream's shares than that which she told to the court.

According to the indictment, Birnbaum, who served as home carbonated drinks company SodaStream's CEO for 12 years, was in close contact with Cohen and gave her inside information about two major events. Cohen used the information given to her to buy the company's shares.

In July 2020, the Israel Securities Authority completed its investigation on the matter and passed the case onto the State Attorney.

The first of the two events occurred in February 2017, before SodaStream published a financial report, which showed a 213% rise in net profit for the fourth quarter of 2016, compared with the corresponding quarter of 2015. Cohen was given information about the results before they were published. Two days before the results were published, Cohen bought SodaStream shares for NIS 150,000, with most of the money in her current account. She subsequently sold the shares at a profit of NIS 28,000.

The second occasion was in July 2018, after Birnbaum met with the CEO and president of Pepsico, who agreed to buy SodaStream and before publication of the company's strong second quarter results for the year.

Birnbaum allegedly urged Cohen to immediately invest all her savings in the company's shares. Cohen understood that Birnbaum had insider information and instructed her banker to buy NIS 200,000 worth of SodaStream shares from her current account and a further NIS 100,000 in shares from a savings account.

Shortly after SodaStream reported that it had signed an agreement to be acquired by PepsiCo, and one day after the financial report was published, Cohen sold all her shares for a profit of NIS 156,000.

Presumption of innocence: Daniel Birnbaum and Ayala Cohen are only suspects and have not been convicted of any offense and as such deserve the presumption of innocence.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on December 28, 2021.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2021.

Daniel Birnbaum Photo: Shlomi Yosef
Daniel Birnbaum Photo: Shlomi Yosef
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