Mar 22, 2023
Ex-Lumentum Executive Pleads Guilty to Trading on Merger Plans
(Bloomberg) -- A former Lumentum Holdings Inc. executive faces prison after pleading guilty to trading on and sharing with friends and family secret information about the company’s merger plans.
Amit Bhardwaj, 51, admitted Wednesday that he bought Coherent Inc. stock and call options in late 2020 based on Lumentum’s plans to acquire the company. Bhardwaj also tipped a close relative and two friends who traded on the information, collectively making $900,000 in profits.
Bhardwaj, who was Lumentum’s chief information security officer, also admitted he passed confidential information about merger discussions with NeoPhotonics Corp. to three other people in 2021. Prosecutors said the three made a total of $4.3 million after the deal was announced.
Lumentum makes optical instruments and has supplied Apple Inc. among others.
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Two of the people tipped off by Bhardwaj pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in hopes of lenient sentences.
“I am ashamed of what I did and the harm I have caused to others,” Bhardwaj told US District Judge Gregory Woods as he pleaded guilty to 13 charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and securities fraud in a hearing in Manhattan federal court. Under a plea deal with prosecutors, he could get as many as 7 1/4 years in prison when he is sentenced on July 11.
Lumentum agreed to buy Coherent for $5.7 billion in January 2021. The deal broke apart two months later after a bidding war, with Coherent accepting a $6.9 billion offer from II-VI Inc. Lumentum closed on a $918 million deal to buy NeoPhotonics in August.
The case is US v. Bhardwaj, 22-cr-00398, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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