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3D Systems CEO Sells $4 Million In Shares

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3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) CEO Abraham Reichental sold 66,700 common shares of his company for just over $4 million on Friday according to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing. He still owns 1.5 million shares after the transaction (a 1.45% stake) so any accusations of unloading the stock would be unfair, but with sentiment turning against 3D Systems it could be a sign that Reichental expects the company to have a rough year.

3D Systems stock began falling in January

After a strong 2013, 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) stock price began to falter as investors worried that the practical, large-scale applications of 3D printing may still be a few years away and that consumer sales couldn’t support the company’s current valuation. The stock price recovered after hitting 4Q13 earnings estimates (while the market was rallying in general), but even then many analysts were unconvinced.

Since then analysts have downgraded 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) and reduced its price target, and Kase Capital manager Whitney Tilson called it a ‘dream short’. He has also shorted at least four other 3D printing companies, though he hasn’t named any of the others. While many analysts have focused on the question of whether the technology is mature enough for industrial scaling, Tilson points out that the moat may not be as wide as you would expect.

“These stocks are being valued as if this is the next coming of the iPhone and iPad combined,” said Tilson. Walking around the CES, he says that he saw “booth after booth of companies with very similar products to 3D Systems. And at lower prices.”

And considering that many of the patents that set 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) apart in the past are set to expire this year, that moat will only get smaller down the road.

Sale doesn’t change market’s assessment of 3D Systems

The market hasn’t reacted to Reichental’s sale (3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) is up 2% today), but that’s probably because the damage of increasing short interest and lowered expectations have already been done. There are still a few bulls out there who see the recent drop in stock price as a sign to buy, but when respected managers like Tilson are saying that 3D Systems could stand to lose 80% of its value (its stock price nearly tripled in 2013), Reichental’s decision to take some profit while the stock is still relatively high just looks like a sensible decision.

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