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Shares of the mysterious company soon to be headed by John McAfee collapsed by 35% Wednesday. The stock has gone wild after the company this month pivoted from mobile gaming to cybersecurity, bringing McAfee on board as Chairman and CEO and acquiring another company. McAfee is the founder of the antivirus software company that bears his name, though he hasn’t been involved with that company for some time.
On Wednesday it announced another investment – for a stake in a tiny drugmaker that ostensibly has nothing to do with cybersecurity. MGT was the second-most traded stock in the US Wednesday, with over 96 million shares changing hands. The small firm had seen its stock jump more than 1000% in the past week.
There’s a long and interesting timeline related to the stock before the moves in the past week. Here’s the full breakdown:
September 8, 2015: MGT sells all but 11% of its stake in DraftDay.com, according to its annual report. April 14: After delaying its annual report from March 31, MGT files its report, saying it has $359,000 in cash on hand. Additionally, it describes its business as “principally engaged in the business of acquiring, developing and monetizing assets in the online and mobile gaming space as well as the social casino industry.” The report does say that following the sale of DraftDay, the firm is “considering all methods to create value for shareholders, including potential mergers, spin-offs, distributions and other strategic actions.” May 3: Michael Brauser, of Grander Holdings, acquires 1,337,668 shares of MGT Technologies, 6.4% of the company at the time of filing. Brauser has been sued numerous times for fraud involving small, publicly listed firms, though some of those allegations have been dismissed. The most recent was dismissed in September 2015, for the company IDI Inc. Brauser was also CEO of an email-marketing company, Naviant, which was acquired and eventually sued by credit agency Equifax after the firm accused the shareholder sellers of fraud. The case settled in arbitration for a payout to Equifax of $15.2 million. Brauser, however, told Business Insider, “I recieved a lot of money from the settlement.” May 6: MGT Chairman Joshua Silverman steps down from his position. Silverman’s Cayman Island-based Iroquois Capital owns 9.4% of the firm, according to a filing on May 9. According to that filing, Silverman and his firm no longer have any representation on the board. May 9: McAfee is named chairman and CEO, and the company buys Wyoming-based cybersecurity firm D-Vasive for $300,000 in cash and 4,760,000 in shares of MGT. The stock jumps 60% for the day. May 16: MGT files to delay its 10Q report because the firm needs “additional time to work with its auditors and legal counsel to prepare and finalize the Form 10-Q.” May 17: Barry Honing, a shareholder in MGT who has invested with Brauser before, sold 600,000 shares of MGT on May 12 according to a filing. Honing has been accumulating a stake in MGT since October according to SEC documents. The new filing, however, also states that the share sale was previously attributed to Melechdavid Inc., a private company based in Florida, when it should have been attributed to Honing. “The Company has been notified that all the securities issued to the selling stockholder Melechdavid, Inc., have been sold or transferred,” said the filing. “A portion of such securities, consisting of 600,000 shares of the Company’s common stock issued upon the exercise of warrants held by Melechdavid, Inc., was assigned to Barry Honig on May 12, 2016. Accordingly, the ‘Selling Stockholders’ table is being amended with respect to the shares previously registered to Melechdavid, Inc.” May 18: In another SEC filing, MGT disclosed that the company and its current CEO Robert Ladd, have purchased a 7% stake in Ventraxis, a pharmaceutical company that attempted to develop a test for detecting appendicitis but was not approved by the FDA. The shares, worth about $400,000 were bought with working capital from MGT.
Business Insider contacted McAfee on Tuesday, who said he was approached by MGT Technologies in 2015 regarding a possible investment in some of McAfee’s cybersecurity ventures.
The offer to come on as CEO and pivot the company from gaming to cybersecurity was made by representatives of MGT just over a month ago, according to McAfee.
When asked if he knew of Brauser’s investment or legal troubles McAfee said “I knew nothing about that.” He added that “If people think the cybersecurity focus is a scam, then just look at my background.”
In a conversation with Brauser on Wednesday, the investors said he was approached by a representative of MGT in 2015 about maming an investment in the company. He said the position has been “dormant” since that time.
“I had no idea whatsoever about any deal at MGT or with Mr. McAfee,” Brauser told us. He said that “got lucky I guess” as to the moves at MGT since he has never had contact with anyone at MGT or Ladd himself.
In regards to the litigation against him, he said that it has all been dismissed or dropped and that as an active business person it happens from time to time.
Brauser also said that he has had no contact with Honing regarding MGT or anything else in some time, though they have “co-invested” in the past.
Ladd was not immediately available for comment.