— ValueWalk.com (@valuewalk) March 24, 2014
The brief court document simply says, “petitioner Greenlight Capital, Inc., hereby discontinues this proceeding without costs.”
Greenlight Capital statement
In a statement, Greenlight spokesperson Jonathan Gasthalter said: “Greenlight has identified the anonymous blogger and has resolved the matter privately to our satisfaction.”
The fate of the blogger is unknown. When asked for comment, Greenlight did not immediately provide additional information. The issue was scheduled to head to court on April 1. The New York Times had initially raised concerns regarding freedom of the press issues.
In a tweet, Eli Hoffman, Seeking Alpha’s Editor and vice president of content, said: “To clarify: Greenlight dropped the suit of its own accord. We did not at any time disclose the author’s identity formally or informally.”
In a statement to ValueWalk, Colin Lokey, director of contributor success at Seeking Alpha, expressed relief that the issue was over but made it clear they did not cooperate with Greenlight nor were their plans influenced by the legal threats. The statement read:
“Greenlight dropped the suit of its own accord. We did not at any time disclose the author’s identity formally or informally, and at no time were our actions dictated by reaching a deal with Greenlight.
We’re happy Greenlight is no longer pursuing the case, and has resolved the issue to its satisfaction.
This is not the first demand we have had to disclose pseudonymous authors’ identities; we have yet to disclose author identity in any claim submitted to court.
Platforms such as Seeking Alpha are protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides immunity from liability for providers and users of an “interactive computer service” who publish information provided by others. This doesn’t stop attempts to file pre-action motions to try and get to specific posters, but so far our experience has been that the claims get shut down or withdrawn.
We continue to support third-party posters, and their decision as to whether to publish under real or assumed names. We will continue to step in to the extent we deem reasonable against claims submitted, as we believe in the value that psuedonymity builds for the community.”
The blogger’s identity
ValueWalk was among the first to disclose the lawsuit, which began as a headline on the Bloomberg terminal that shocked readers with “David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital Sues Seeking Alpha Website.” The detailed story, revealed minutes later when ValueWalk published court documents it had received, had a slightly different shade. It showed Einhorn named Seeking Alpha as a respondent in a lawsuit to reveal the identity of a user who posted confidential details about Einhorn’s position.
Mysterious author claims to be fund manager who benefited from rising stock price
In the court documents published by ValueWalk, Einhorn claims that publishing the hedge fund’s holdings of Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) securities during the fourth quarter of 2013 cost the fund because it ultimately drove up the price of shares. On Nov. 14, seeking to keep its holdings confidential, Greenlight had requested confidential treatment from the Securities and Exchange Commission. When the information was published by Seeking Alpha, Greenlight alleges in its suit that it could have only come from a person who had confidential access to the fund. The disclosure on Seeking Alpha, filed by a person under the pen name “Valuable Insights,” had a stake in Micron and financially benefited from the rise in the stock’s value. Micron’s stock price moved higher after the post, from $18.92 on Nov. 13 to $19.46 on Nov. 15. Einhorn ultimately disclosed his position in Micron on Nov. 21 at an investment conference in New York.