On July 25, 2023, Phunware, Inc. (NASDAQ: PHUN), a mobile software and blockchain company, filed a securities lawsuit against UBS Securities, LLC, a global broker-dealer, alleging repeated manipulation of the company’s stock over a two-year period (January 5, 2021 to March 15, 2023) in violation of Section 10(b), Rule 10b-5 and Section 9(a)(2) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as well as New York state common law.
Specifically, Plaintiff claims that during the relevant period, UBS deliberately engaged in repeated spoofing that interfered with the natural forces of supply and demand, causing Phunware significant losses as it sold millions of shares of its stock at artificially depressed prices.
Phunware, founded in 2009, is a fully integrated mobile software and blockchain company that produces innovative end-to-end enterprise cloud-based software programs, such as Multiscreen-as-a-Service (MaaS), that engages, manages, and monetizes customer experiences over their mobile devices, directly improving business results and revenues for their clients on a worldwide basis.
Phunware’s products and services have been used by many of the world’s leading brands in virtually every industry, including PwC, Intel, AT&T, Cisco, FOX, CBS, Mount Sinai, Marriott, Lowe’s, Oprah, NFL, NASCAR, and others.
During the relevant two-year period, Plaintiff claims that analysts consistently recommended Phunware to investors with all four of the analyst firms following PHUN assigning it “buy” ratings at price targets that were typically over $2 and reached as high as $6 – levels considerably higher than the actual prices at which PHUN traded. This discrepancy persists to this day, with analysts’ current price targets exceeding Phunware’s share price by over 300%.
Phunware’s stock price, however, has not followed the market’s expectation because of UBS’s spoofing scheme, accomplished through “baiting orders,” which create an appearance of a downward trending market. Once other market participants enter their own sell orders, the spoofer will then place orders to buy or “execute purchases” of the same shares, thereby successfully purchasing a company’s shares at artificially depressed prices, and then cancel their baiting orders.
Plaintiff claims that in order to carry out its spoofing scheme, UBS placed over 82 million baiting orders and purchased over 640,000 shares in over 1,000 executed orders at manipulated prices during the relevant period.
As a result of UBS repeatedly and brazenly manipulating the market through its spoofing, Phunware sold over 34 million shares at artificially depressed prices, causing it significant losses.
Case name: Phunware, Inc. v. UBS Securities LLC, Case No. 1:123-cv-06426, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York