The tiny investor relations firm that allegely provided the tip that brought Galleon Group its most profitable illicit trade was started by a Goldman Sachs institutional sales vice president.
Prosecutors have alleged that before Google announced a shortfall for its earnings in July 2007, a tipster told Galleon the company would miss analyst expectations. That information received from an unidentified Market Street Partners employee. The Market Street employee expected to be richly compensated for providing the tip.
This has started a guessing game about who might have been behind the leak. The person had to have connections to someone in a position to pass on the tip to Galleon’s founder Raj Rajaratnam. You don’t exactly call a stranger and offer an illegal tip in exchange for cash.
Joann Horne, one of the co-founders of Market Street Partners, worked at Goldman for five years from 1994 to 1999. As a vice president in institutional sales she would have worked losely with portfolio managers, analysts, and traders. In 2000, she co-founded the investor relations firm with Carolyn Bass.
It seems far fetched to imagine that Horn would be behind the leak however. For one thing, she is much more than an “employee” at the firm. More importantly, it seems likely that such a leak and demand for payment would come from a shorter term employee rather than someone with a long term interest in the health of the financial firm.
Still, we’re sure the more easily enraged critics of Goldman Sachs will be pleased to know that the Vampire Squid also has its tentacles in the Galleon insider trading scandal. Goldman was not immediately available to comment on this tentacle.
Market Street is virtually unknown. “Employees at the neighbouring offices described Market Street as being quiet and small, with employees preferring to take the stairs rather than the elevator,” Reuters reports. “The median age is 32, according to LinkedIn data.” LinkedIn lists five current employees: Horne, Bass, Vice President Linda Rothemund, Vice President Karen Haus, and analyst Daniel Wood.
We can cross Rothemund and Wood off the list of potential suspects because they weren’t at the firm in July 2007, when the Google earnings were leaked. That leaves only Horne, Bass and Haus among the current employees who could have provided the information.
There are others who LinkedIn reveals worked at the firm but have since left. Jon Avidor, now a law and business student at Northwestern and the Kellogg School of Managemen, worked at the firm as an analyst from January 2006 to February 2008, according to his LinkedIn page. Nate Wright, also now an MBA student at Kellogg, was at Market Street from August 2004 to August 2009.
Kate Sidorovich was a vice president at Market Street from March 2004 to March 2008, and is now the the director of investor relations for eHealth. One person named Hannah Baker doesn’t list the date of her employment but describes herself as an analyst at the firm. There may be other former employees not on LinkedIn.
Interestingly, an earlier Reuters report noted that the firm’s website once listed four partners at the firm–Horn, Bass, Rothemund, and Haus-Moran–but that information has since been deleted.
Most of Market Street’s clients appear to be smaller tech companies. Clearly, Google is by far its largest account. Other clients include NetSuite Inc, DigitalGlobe Inc and Omniture Inc, which was recently bought by Adobe. Here’s a link to their client page.
It’s possible that the leaker may have also offered tips to others, especially after he or she had the demand for payment turned down. Those leaks could have been about Google or any other client of the firm.
Market Street is keeping pretty quiet these days.
“As we’ve said publicly we were not given any advance notice,” a Market Street employee who declined to give her name when a Reuters reporter visited on Monday. “We have not been contacted by any law enforcement agencies. We are very willing and open to cooperating with any investigation but that’s really all we can say at this point.”