Remember the “tough cop on the beat”? The one Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison reckon can do the job to keep those naughty banks on the straight and narrow? Well, take a look at this and wonder just how tough ASIC (and the ASX) actually are.

Patties Foods, the Four n’ Twenty Pie company, received a private equity offer on Monday (it leaked to the Financial Review on Sunday, actually) at $1.65 a share. That is well and good. Patties shares had traded at $1.33 last Friday. The shares rose 23% from a low of $1.08 on April 13, all without a query from regulators. And it couldn’t have been the market boosting Patties’ shares — it was only up around 9% in the same time.

And yet after Spotless fell 10% last Thursday, the ASX whips in a please explain (despite a 3.8% rise on Friday). So, what was the more mysterious: that 23% rise in Patties shares over six weeks, or a 10% fall in a day? Both market moves seem odd, but only Spotless was worthy of a query. And yet Patties’ steady advance culminated in the highest share price for more than three years in the shape of the private equity offer. So much for the tough cop on the beat (see ASIC, or the Market Plod/Poodle). And these are not the only odd market moves in the past month or so. Remember the trading in APN News and Media shares ahead of it announcing in early May the hiving off of its NZ media interests and possible combination with Fairfax Media’s Kiwi assets (and $180 million capital raising)?

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