Facebook Vice President and General Counsel Colin Stretch offloaded 1,000 shares in an open market transaction on Dec. 30. Stretch sold the shares at an average price of $79.78 for a total transaction of $79,780. After the transaction, the vice president owns 57,482 shares in the company totaling to $4.6 million, according to a legal filing with the SEC.
More insider selling
In another transaction on Dec. 23, Stretch sold 1,000 shares of Facebook at an average price of $82 for a total value of $82,000. Additionally, on Dec. 16, the VP made a transaction worth $76,200, selling 1,000 shares at an average price of $76.20 each.
Shares of the largest social networking site surged in 2014 from $54 in early January to around $80 on Dec. 29. Facebook penetrated the market further in 2014 by acquiring messenger apps such as WhatsApp for $19 billion.
Instagram, another major photo sharing app, saw an increase in its user base. Instagram was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012. It has yet to be seen if the Instagram acquisition pays off significantly for Facebook by adding to the company’s bottom line. At present, Instagram is showing promising growth potential for adding to the company’s advertising revenue, as the application has more than 300 million monthly active users.
Analysts bullish on Facebook
In 2014, the Menlo Park-based company saw an increase in mobile users and revenue, surpassing $3 billion in the third-quarter. The new user growth rate has, however, dropped recently, and according to some market watchers, this drop cannot be avoided, with Facebook expanding more and more. However, a few analysts differ, noting a decline in popularity among teens.
On average, analysts are bullish on the stock in 2015. Betsy Van Hees, an analyst at Wedbush, reiterated her Outperform rating on the stock with a price target of $90 on Dec. 29. According to Hees, there is a lot of unlocked potential in Facebook in the field of advertising. The analyst believes the social networking site is well-positioned to become a significant presence in the online advertising market on the back of its user base scale, superior data and cross-platform targeting capabilities.
Hees states that the company’s shares will surge in the near term on the back of, “the core mobile news-feed ads and improved right rail desktop ads.” In the long-term, both Instagram and WhatsApp will present opportunity for earning revenue, believes Hees.