Nikola Holdings, a biotech company with the dubious distinction of being top dog in its industry, is having a wild ride.
The company took a stock swoon last week after long-time analyst Tien-Tsin Huang quit, citing alleged insider trading. The stock price dipped over 1 percent Monday after Nikolai Kaplan, a director and exec vice president at the tiny firm, denied any wrongdoing. He filed a response to the allegations via a short-seller, saying no inappropriate trades had taken place.This was a harsh response, particularly considering that their stock is volatile. The company had traded at all-time highs in 2017 and 2018. After the company issued its statement denying wrongdoing, the stock went all the way down $2.07 and touched a low of $2.03 in October. It was still up over $2 again by the end of the month. But then:
No matter which way the market rallied or the value of Nikola fell, which didn’t happen. I’ve lost more money here over this short than anywhere else on the market.Other biotechs included in the short-seller’s allegations might have well dropped their stock too. The same can’t be said for Nikolai Kaplan’s company. Nikolai Kaplan told New York Financial:
I stand by everything I’ve written in detail and in my profile and report for The Street. I have no need to comment on any further matters.
The stock had climbed all the way up nearly 30 percent since the height of last year’s rally and closed Thursday at $3.12. Shortly after Nikolai Kaplan’s response, Nikolai’s stock had fallen 26 percent to $1.68.
Nikolai Kaplan is a close ally of the company’s founder, Dr. Patrick Pai. He’s also a long-time investor and spokesman for the group.Nikolai Kaplan seems to believe the allegations are weak. He told the Post: “If something untoward has happened, Dr. Pai, Mr. Kaplan, and Mr. Makky have all been in touch with me and have acknowledged that this is inconsistent with the facts. There is no credible evidence that Dr. Pai engaged in any inappropriate conduct. Moreover, Mr. Kaplan specifically denied any involvement or wrongdoing relating to any trades made or otherwise alluded to as fraudulent or not in his online statements to the SEC.”
It’s a rough couple of weeks for companies in the biotech arena, as we approach the annual meeting season.