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Peabody Energy Has Multiple Undisclosed SEC Probes, New Report Warns

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According to Probes Reporter, an independent investment research firm that focuses on public companies' interactions with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE: BTU) is "playing Disclosure Games" with investors regarding ongoing SEC investigative activity.

Probes Reporter noted in a research report on Monday that Peabody announced the sale of its stake in Prairie State Energy, an entity which is related to an SEC probe dating back to 2013.

"Data recently received from the SEC has two disturbing reveals," the Probes Reporter research document stated. "First, the SEC confirmed enforcement proceedings were on-going as of 30-Nov-2015. We were also told there is/were multiple SEC probes."

The report added Peabody's disclosures, namely an 8-K document filed in December 2015, gives the "[clear] impression" that there was only one SEC investigation which involved Prairie State and the company further suggested it has not received any related communication from the SEC since August 2013.

"Updates on SEC activity at Peabody merely repeat in form and substance what's been disclosed earlier without any helpful update," the report continued. "The disclosure related to not hearing anything from the SEC since Aug-2013 is repeated in the following filings: 10-Q filed in May-2014; 10-K filed on 25-Feb-2015; 10-Q's filed on 07-Aug-2015, and 09-Nov-2015; and, an 8-K filed on 14-Dec-2015."

Accordingly, the Probes Reporter report stated that Peabody's investors could be left "in the dark" regarding how the sale of its Prairie State asset will impact the company going forward, or if there is "cause to worry."

"Now it's time to ask: Who does that?" the report questioned. "That is, who continues to disclose some long-ago SEC investigation well after it supposedly ended? Dear reader, whenever you see a disclosure like this, we recommend you absolutely assume there is some reason company lawyers decided it had to stay … and stay … and stay. If this is Peabody Energy's version of transparency, we say it fails. "

Shares of Peabody were trading higher by more than 16 percent at $4.02 on Monday.

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