Shares of InfoSpace ( INSP) shot up Friday in the wake of a court decision that could add $200 million to the company's coffers. That money would come straight from the pocket of InfoSpace's estranged founder, Naveen Jain, according to The Seattle Times, which published a story Friday about the ruling. At issue, reports the Times, is a federal judge's decision Wednesday in a civil suit that Jain's previously disclosed sales of $207 million of his InfoSpace holdings were illegal insider transactions. One of those sales allegedly stemmed from shares Jain put in an escrow account just prior to InfoSpace's December 1998 initial public offering. Another allegedly arose from shares Jain put into tax-free trusts for his children. Jain, reached Friday by TheStreet.com, said he was puzzled by both the judge's decision and the Times' estimate of the amount of money at issue. "I don't know where they came up with that number; the judge has not ruled anything," said Jain. Shares in InfoSpace, which sells wireless and Internet software and application services, rose $2.27, or 19%, to $14.27 Friday. Though the judge in the case has yet to decide the penalties in the case, the plaintiff seeks the return of $207 million to the company, according to the Times. The plaintiff, Seattle lawyer Thomas Dreiling, did not return a phone message left by TheStreet.com. The court decision is the latest in a string of strange episodes to which InfoSpace and the eccentric Jain have been a party. Former Merrill Lynch ( MER) analyst Henry Blodget, for example, agreed to pay a $4 million settlement and be barred from the securities industry in part because he published positive reports about the company while privately negative on the stock. More recently, Jain was ousted as InfoSpace's CEO late last year, then
sued by InfoSpace this year for breaching contractual and fiduciary duties.