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FBI probes Heinz acquisition deal

Posted on Feb 20, 05:06PM | IANS

New York, Feb 20 : The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has announced that it is looking into suspected insider trading of H.J. Heinz after an acquisition announcement made by Warren Buffett's Berkshire-Hathaway and Brazil's 3G Capital last week.

"The FBI is aware of the trading anomalies the day before Heinz's announcement. We are consulting with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) to determine if a crime was committed," FBI spokesperson Peter Donald said.

Last Friday, the SEC obtained an emergency court order to freeze a bank account in Zurich, Switzerland on allegations that options traders got information of the buyout before it was announced and reaped more than $1.7 million from the deal, reported Xinhua.

All the three largest global ratings firms have all responded to Heinz's acquisition. Fitch Ratings Friday cut Heinz's ratings by three steps to BB+ from BBB+ and placed ratings on "negative watch".

Meanwhile, Moody's Investors Service and the S&P's Ratings Services have placed their credit ratings on Heinz on review or watch for a possible downgrade after the announcement of the deal.