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Former SodaStream CEO and associate indicted for insider trading

Daniel Birnbaum accused of tipping off Ayala Cohen before release of earnings reports, helping her earn over NIS 180,000 through stock sales

Daniel Birnbaum, CEO of SodaStream, seen at the University of Haifa on April 11, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Daniel Birnbaum, CEO of SodaStream, seen at the University of Haifa on April 11, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The former CEO of SodaStream and an associate were indicted Tuesday on charges of insider trading.

The indictment filed by prosectors in the State Attorney’s Office’s Taxation and Economics Division accuses Daniel Birnbaum of giving information to Ayala Cohen regarding positive periodic reports before they were published, allowing her to buy shares and make a profit.

In one instance in 2017, according to the indictment, Cohen spent most of her liquidity on NIS 150,000 ($48,000) of SodaStream stock, quickly turning it around for a profit of NIS 28,000 ($9,000), after getting a tip from Birnbaum that the upcoming report would show a major jump in profits.

The charge sheet alleged that Birnbaum similarly tipped off Cohen in 2018 ahead of the release of another earnings report and the announcement that PepsiCo would acquire SodaStream, netting her NIS 156,000 ($50,000) in profits.

Birnbaum and Cohen were also charged with obstruction of justice over the latter’s responses to a banker’s questions about her stock trading.

A statement on Birnbaum’s behalf said in response to the indictment: “We believe that later in the proceedings, the [Israel Securities] Authority will be persuaded to dismiss the charges altogether.”

A picture taken August 20, 2018, shows the headquarters of SodaStream in the central Israeli city of Lod. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

Birnbaum was first questioned in 2019 over suspected insider trading connected to Pepsi’s purchase of SodaStream. The US-based soda giant paid $3.2 billion, or $144 a share, in one of the largest buyouts in Israel’s history.

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