It Sure Looks Like Insider Trading

Furious market moves preceded three recent deals

Are insiders involved in global mergers using information about deals to make a killing in the market? Stock and option movements in a few recent high-profile deals strongly suggest that they are. Trading patterns for AirTouch Communications Inc. and Transamerica Corp., two recent U.S. targets for offshore acquirers, are drawing the scrutiny of stock exchange monitors in San Francisco and Philadelphia, respectively. And heavy trading in a third company, security service Pinkerton's Inc., before the Feb. 22 news of its purchase by a Swedish company, surely set off alarms at the New York Stock Exchange. Federal regulators won't say if they are investigating, but they are concerned about insider trading on cross-border deals.

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