Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) shares are roughly flat year to date, and apparently insiders have decided it’s time for another round of selloffs. Keep in mind though that insider selling is not always a bearish indicator for a stock. In fact, sales are often done for tax purposes, and as it’s February, tax season is here so it comes as no surprise that this is the given reason for some of these sales among insiders.
Facebook (FB) insiders unload shares
A review of regulatory filings reveals that nine Facebook insiders have unloaded shares and/ or exercised RSUs this week. This is by far the highest rate of insider selling we’ve seen for Facebook in quite some time. The nine insiders who have sold shares are: Jas Athwal, Sheryl Sandberg, Susan Desmond-Hellmann, Michael Todd Schroepfer, David Wehner, David Fischer, Colin Stretch, Christopher Cox, and Jan Koum.
Note that CEO Mark Zuckerberg isn’t among them. His last transfer was at the end of December, and he doesn’t tend to sell many of his shares of the company he founded.
Sheryl Sandberg shuffles Facebook (FB) around
Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg owns millions of shares of the social network, so all in all, her sales were minute. She also exercised some restricted stock units. The regulatory filing which reports her share sales indicates that some of the shares she sold were to cover tax withholding obligations in connection with the vesting of the RSUs. Sandberg sold her shares at prices ranging from $100.27 to $103.74 per share in a series of transactions this week.
The executive unloaded roughly 65,000 shares, leaving her with more than 5.1 million Facebook shares under direct ownership following the sales. She also holds about 24,000 shares indirectly through a family trust.
Other Facebook (FB) execs sell shares
Facebook Chief Accounting Officer Jas Athwal unloaded about 18,000 shares in a series of transactions this week at prices ranging from $100.82 to $103.80 per share, according to a regulatory filing, with some of the shares being sold for tax purposes relating to the exercise of RSUs, just like Sandberg’s sales. Chief Technology Officer Michael Schroepfer exercised about 87,000 RSUs and another 20,000 stock options to acquire more shares and then sold about 83,000 shares, again with some of those sales being due to tax requirements.
Chief Financial Officer David Wehner exercised about 64,000 RSUs and then sold approximately 32,000, leaving him with nearly 64,000 Facebook shares after those sales. Again some of these shares were sold to cover tax obligations. Marketing VP David Fischer exercised about 40,000 RSUs and sold approximately 17,600 shares, leaving him with nearly 278,000 shares.
General Counsel Colin Stretch exercised about 27,000 RSUs and sold about 15,000 shares, leaving him with nearly 84,000 Facebook shares, while Chief Product Officer Christopher Cox exercised about 98,000 RSUs and sold about 66,000. Director Susan Desmond-Hellmann exercised 1,200 RSUs to acquire shares through her family trust, while Director Jan Koum exercised 1.2 million RSUs and disposed of those and hundreds of thousands of others with some being donated and others being sold for tax purposes.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) shares climbed by as much as 1.41% to $104.93 during regular trading hours today.