The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that two unknown buyers of stock in Petco Animal Supplies, Inc., a San Diego-based company, would not be allowed to sell their shares in the company or gain profits from selling the shares amidst allegations of insider trading.

On Friday, Petco announced that two private equity firms would acquire it for $1.8 billion. The firms paid about 50 percent more for the stock than the price it closed at the previous day. The firms paid $29 per share for the company. The stock closed at $19.45 on Thursday night.

The SEC alleges in a complaint filed Monday that in late June and early July, one or more individuals purchased stock options through financial institutions in Switzerland and England with important, nonpublic information.

The allegedly illicit profit from these options is approximately $862,000, according to a press release from the SEC.

It is unknown whether the financial institutions have sold the stock options on behalf of the buyers.

SAM HODGSON

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