BUTTE — The sale of Butte’s MSE Technology Inc. has been halted after prospective buyer, Global Technologies Group, was suspended from trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The commission on Monday ordered the suspension of Florida-based GTGP, “because of questions regarding the adequacy and accuracy of information … including their assets, business operations, current financial condition and/or issuances of shares in company stock.”
GTGP shares cannot be traded until midnight Sept. 29, and an investigation into the company could continue if the SEC believes investors were defrauded.
Either way, there will likely be a dramatic decline in the company’s stock, according to the SEC, that may leave it unable to complete the purchase of MSE.
Global Technologies, however, is not suspended from conducting business and could still legally complete the purchase.
James Fallacaro, chief executive officer of Global Technologies Group Inc. and affiliated purchaser Global Technologies Holding, Inc., did not return calls Monday and Tuesday seeking comment.
Earlier this month he told The Montana Standard that he had reached a verbal agreement with current owner MERDI and said both sides “agree on all points.”
The sale, originally slated to close Aug. 15, had twice been delayed. The last close date was scheduled for Sept. 14, just one business day before the SEC ruling.
But it did not happen.
Jim Kambich, director of MERDI, also did not return calls to The Montana Standard seeking comment. Neither did lawyer Bill Kebe, who is representing MERDI.
The future of the Butte-based engineering company that has operated locally since the 1970s is unknown.
Since 2008, MSE has struggled. Before the recession and a federal crackdown on earmarks, it employed more than 200 people. About half of those have been laid off in the last four years, and many others were reduced to part time work.
Investors in Global Technologies are in just as difficult a position. The publicly traded “penny stock” that was trading for as little as 9 cents a share in April, rose to as high as $1.29 in August and closed Friday at 93 cents per share. That price will most likely take a serious hit when and if trading resumes.
According to documents provided by the SEC, the commission suspends trading in a security when it believes the action “is required in the public interest and to protect investors.”
The commission said it “suspends trading only when it believes that the public may be making investment decisions based on a lack of information, or false or misleading information. A suspension may prevent potential investors from being victimized by a fraud.”