Daniel Birnbaum Former SodaStream CEO indicted for insider trading

SodaStream Daniel Birnbaum
SodaStream Daniel Birnbaum / Facebook

Daniel Birnbaum, the former CEO of SodaStream, and Ayala Cohen, a company employee, were indicted today in the Tel Aviv District Court (Economics) on charges of insider trading and perverting the course of justice, two years after the subject first came to light.

The matter was initially reported by “Globes,” after Cohen provided a banker with a different account of events about the performance of SodaStream’s stock than she did to the court.

According to the indictment, Cohen purchased the company’s stock using the inside information provided to her by Birnbaum on two different occasions.

The Israel Securities Authority concluded its investigation into the subject in July 2020 and referred the case to the State Attorney.

The first of the two incidents occurred in February 2017, just before SodaStream released a financial report showing a 213 percent increase in net profit for the fourth quarter of 2016 over the same period in 2015.

Cohen was informed of the findings prior to their publication. She purchased SodaStream shares for NIS 150,000 two days before the results were revealed, using the majority of the funds in her current account. Following that, she sold the shares for a profit of NIS 28,000.

The second time occurred in July 2018, following a meeting between Birnbaum and the CEO and president of Pepsico, which decided to acquire SodaStream, and prior to the company’s good second-quarter performance for the year.

Birnbaum allegedly persuaded Cohen to invest all of her savings quickly in the company’s stock. Cohen recognized Birnbaum’s insider status and authorized her banker to purchase SodaStream shares worth NIS 200,000 from her current account and another NIS 100,000 from a savings account.

Cohen liquidated all her shares for a profit of NIS 156,000 shortly after SodaStream announced it had reached a deal to be bought by PepsiCo and one day after the financial report was published.

Daniel Birnbaum and Ayala Cohen have not been convicted of any crime. They are entitled to the presumption of innocence.