Wowza. What a couple of weeks for the people at Hyundai. First, the company was talking to Apple about the Apple Car. Then it might not have been. Then it wasn't. And now its executives are not only deleted from Tim Cook's contacts list, but also in line for an investigation into whether they did something illegal.
The thing they're accused of is particularly interesting for those of us who write about this kind of thing. See, according to a Reuters report, it's been suggested that Hyundai executives might have used insider knowledge related to the Apple Car talks to make share trades. And yes, Hyundai shares jumped 21% on the back of rumors of its involvement with Apple.
South Korea's stock exchange will begin a review next week to examine if executives of Hyundai Motor may have used undisclosed information to trade shares following reports of a tie-up with Apple, an exchange spokeswoman said.
Shares of Hyundai jumped 21% between its initial confirmation of talks on autonomous vehicles between the two firms and an announcement last week that the talks were off.
It seemed strange when Hyundai first confirmed that it was in talks with Apple over a deal to build the Apple Car. That just isn't something that companies do. Ultimately, it could have cost Hyundai the deal, but it could also have made some people a ton of money thanks to that jump in share price. Was that a coincidence? Some suggest not.
Now, what's interesting here is the way the media could have been used to manipulate share prices. It's something that has been discussed before, although usually in terms of analysts making bullish or otherwise claims about Apple and its plans moving forward. These are often the same analysts telling investors what to do with their money and making share prices go up or down makes a lot of sense for them. But this is the first time I've wondered about people inside the companies themselves.
it also raises an interesting question about the way these things are reported. When Hyundai says it's working with Apple to produce one of its most-rumored products of the last ten years, it's going to be written up. I'm not sure, if the Hyundai case is proven, how we can avoid this happening again.
But it's absolutely something we need to consider as an industry.