The People Doing The Heinz Deal Had Code Words For Everything

Magellanic penguin

Photo: Wikimedia/David

How do you keep a $23 billion deal between international investors a secret?Code words, obviously?

Warren Buffett and Brazil’s richest man Jorge Lemann planned their purchase of Heinz (announced yesterday) in just 6 weeks. That means there was probably a lot of communication between lots of people to make it happen so fast.

To keep it all secret, says Reuters, the dealmakers used code words.

From Reuters:

… according to two sources. 3G was called “goose,” Heinz was referred to as “penguin” and Berkshire was known as “owl.” The news release also refers to the buyer as “Hawk Acquisition Holding Corp”.

Cool, right? Except that it very well may not have worked. The SEC is suing some unknown traders for buying Heinz options before the deal was announced. That means someone knew that the price of Heinz stock would spike, so they wanted to buy the option to buy it at a lower price.

Whoops.

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