Alaska Air Group Chief Executive Officer Bill Ayer on Thursday denied that he provided insider information to a large hedge fund investor in the airline holding company about the pending takeover of Puget Sound Energy.
Bloomberg News, citing two unnamed sources, alleged that Ayer and hedge fund Donald Smith & Co. are being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The hedge fund doubled its investment in Puget Sound Energy before its takeover was approved by the state in 2008.
Ayer was a member of PSE’s board.
“I never provided any material nonpublic information about Puget Energy to Donald Smith & Co., or anyone else,” Ayer said in an e-mail in response to questions from Bloomberg News.
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Richard Greenberg, senior vice president at Donald Smith, declined to comment on behalf of the firm. SEC spokesman John Nester declined to comment as well .