Chicago (IL) - UPDATE - SCO said Thursday, that its legal counsel has notified the free trade stock exchanges in Berlin, Stuttgart and Frankfurt to delist its stock, which have "been listed without the company’s knowledge." The company implies criminal behaviour of listing brokers in its sharply worded letter. But to SCO’s surprise, there is nothing to complain about.
SCO’s announcement at first sounds like the company has become a victim of fraudulent behaviour. "Our company’s stock is being listed without our consent or authorization," said Bert Young, CFO of SCO. We’re very concerned with this issue and are making every effort to protect our shareholders. SCO is currently taking the steps necessary to stop this kind of activity."
In fact, SCO shares are traded at the Berlin, Stuttgart and Frankfurt Freiverkehr stock exchanges. However, SCO might have overlooked the implication "Freiverkehr", which translates to "free trade". A spokesman of Frankfurt Freiverkehr confirmed to Tom’s Hardware Guide trading activity of SCO stock under the symbol CQUA. But he was quick to stress : "There is nothing wrong."
The German free trade currently consists of more than 6,000 stocks, many of which have not been authorized by companies. According to the Freiverkehr, any registered trader in Germany can request a stock to be traded in this specific exchange - without consulting the respective company.
"I wouldn’t accuse SCO that they have not done their homework, but apparently there is some misunderstanding," the spokesman said. He was not able to confirm, if the stock exchanges actually will delist a stock from the Freiverkehr upon company request.
To acquire the names of the list brokers however should not be a problem for SCO : "To my knowledge, these names are listed publicly on our website," the spokesperman said.
According to the listing history of SCO stock at Frankfurt Freiverkehr, the stock has been traded under the symbol CQUA at least since March of 2001. The initial share value is posted as 10 Euros and currently stands at 8.60 Euros. Trading volumes typically range between 25 and 700 shares a day.
Bert Young said in a phone interview with Tom’s Hardware Guide, that SCO had learned of the unauthorized stock listing "about a week ago from a shareholder." SCO was informed by its law firm, that registered traders could list any stock on the Freiverkehr exchange, he said. But he was not sure, if the exchanges in fact would delist the the shares : "We want our shares only to be traded by actual shareholders in a controlled environment in the US and therefore requested the delisting," Young said.
According to SCO, the company so far has not received any response from the stock exchanges, becuae of a holiday in large parts of Germany. Young was cautious talking about further steps, if the exchanges refused to delist SCO stock. "We want to understand the rules of trading our stock in this environment." While SCO’s press release could be interpreted that the company would also consider legal action, Young wouldn’t comment on such a step.