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Digital media giant J2 Global ‘targeted’ by notorious New York short sellers

J2 Global, parent company of popular tech sites PCMag and Mashable, is now the subject of multiple legal investigations following a tit-for-tat exchange with crew of short sellers that temporarily crashed its stock price.

On June 30, short selling outfit Hindenburg Research published a report that alleged J2’s “opaque approach” to acquiring companies “opened the door to egregious insider self-enrichment.”

The New York-based Hindenburg calculated J2 has acquired 186 businesses in its 25-year history, but its report drew particular attention to one deal: an undisclosed $900,000 paid to a J2 exec for an entity that had no employees or apparent assets.

[Read: Watch Tesla’s meteoric rise — set to techno-remixed Elon Musk tweets]

Hindenburg also claimed J2 recently committed $200 million in shareholder cash to a “newly-formed investment vehicle” operated by supposed company chairman Jeroen van der Weijden.

That investment vehicle’s first alleged move was $12 million to a supposedly dormant home video business established by van der Weijden’s nephew, sans the required conflict of interest disclosure.

In total, Hindenburg says this and other acts like it have generated anywhere from $98 million to $128 million for J2 insiders. The company’s stock has fallen more than 10% since the report surfaced.

J2 Global says its under attack by a ‘short and distort’ outfit

J2 Global refuted Hindenburg’s report in full with a fiery press release published around a week later. “Attacks from ‘short and distort’ outfits like Hindenburg ordinarily would not be dignified with a response,” said the company.

“However, the attempted impugning of J2’s integrity and ethics required a clear and thorough refutation of Hindenburg’s baseless allegations and disparaging misrepresentations,” continued J2.

j2, hindeburg, short, seller, stock