SEC probes four Pharmas for insider trading

The SEC is investigating four pharma deals as part of a larger probe into potential insider trading violations. The deals in question include Pfizer's Wyeth buyout, Merck's purchase of Schering-Plough, Abbott's acquisition of Advanced Medical Optics and Lilly's $6.5 billion buyout of ImClone Systems. The WSJ reported last week that the agency had sent subpoenas to deal advisors and traders as the SEC looks to see whether there was any improper behavior regarding confidential deal information. The SEC also wants to know whether communication between groups involved in dealmaking in any way influenced the timing or progress of the transactions.

"The investigations are part of an effort to better understand how people meet and communicate with one another--and swap information--among banks and Wall Street trading floors," explains the Journal. Pharma isn't the only industry in the spotlight. Deals completed by Best Buy, Triarc, Ansys and others are also getting a closer look.

- here's the Wall Street Journal report