Twitter witnessed heavy insider selling last month, and December was no different, with many top executives selling the stock. From Dec. 1 through 23, insiders sold nearly 1.2 million shares for about $44.9 million at an average price of $37.99 each. Seven insiders, including a founder and former chief executive, sold Twitter shares, according to a report from Barron’s.
Twitter CEO, co-founder selling again
Former CEO and co-founder and director Evan Williams sold 744,000 shares held indirectly for about $27.9 million. After the transactions, Williams directly and indirectly holds about 54.1 million shares, which amounts to a stake of 8.52%, compared to 8.64% earlier.
The Twitter co-founder remains the company’s top individual shareholder. In November, Williams sold 719,200 shares for $28.7 million for an average of $39.95 each. Williams, who has also served as Twitter’s chief financial officer, has been a director since May 2007. Currently Williams is the CEO of Medium, an online-publishing platform, and The Obvious Corp., which is a technology systems innovator.
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Also CEO Richard Costolo offloaded his entire indirect holdings of 283,460 for approximately $11 million. Now Costolo directly owns 545,856 shares. On Nov. 17, the Twitter CEO sold 141,700 shares for $5.8 million at an average price of $41.10 each. Costolo has been with the micro-blogging site since 2009 and has been CEO since 2010.
Other insider selling
Twitter General Counsel Vijaya Gadde sold 27,114 shares for $1.07 million. According to regulatory filings, Gadde sold 17,659 shares to cover taxes. Another executive, Vice President of Product Kevin Weil, sold 5,426 shares for $216,842. Twitter Vice President of Engineering Alexander Roetter sold 23,437 shares for $917,335, of which 12,987 were sold for tax purposes. Also Adam Bain, president of revenue, used options to sell 96,307 shares for $3.7 million. Another executive, Luca Baratta, vice president of finance and accounting, sold 1,875 shares for $74,727, of which 1,030 were sold for tax purposes.
In 2014, Twitter shares have been riding low due to concerns about user growth, and year to date, the stock is down by over 40%.However, Mark Hesse-Withbroe, vice president and senior equity research analyst with Nuveen Asset Management, believes the company could make a comeback.
“At its analyst day in November, Twitter laid out aspirational and financial goals as well as user-experience goals,” analyst told Barrons. “If they deliver on those, it can be a fantastic story.”
On Monday, Twitter shares were down by over 3% and closed at $36.42.