In a transaction that many Facebook shareholders wish to not see again in the near future, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Kara Sandberg cashed in 946,588 shares of the company with transactions that took place on December 5th, 2012. According to the official Form 4 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the shares were sold at prices ranging between $27.68 to $27.74, well below the price of Facebook’s ill-fated initial public offering (IPO) back in May.
Like with other insider trading transactions, Sandberg was required to file a Statement of Changes of Beneficial Ownership with the SEC. This was a Class A Common Stock transaction of Facebook shares held in the Sandberg-Goldberg Family Trust. The trust still holds 18.7 million shares of the online social networking company.
Facebook shareholders have placed a lot of attention on insider transactions since the company’s debut on Wall Street. The IPO event left investors worried about the ability of the company to turn a profit for shareholders, and then a considerable number of shares owned by employees became available to trade, triggering a temporary sell-off. On November 14, however, 800 million Facebook shares held by insiders were cleared for trading without prompting a sell-off. In fact, it seems as if insiders are holding off on cashing in their shares for the time being.
Notwithstanding the Sandberg insider trade, it appears that insiders are counting on Facebook’s planned dominance of the mobile market and expansion of its advertising model to boost stock prices. Facebook shares have been in rally mode since early September, although they are still well below the IPO price of $38.
As trustee of the Sandberg-Goldberg Family Trust, Sandberg has not purchased any Facebook shares since here company’s less-than-stellar Wall Street debut. Facebook insiders have sold 395,242,424 shares of their company over the last 12 months, and they have only purchased 47,846 shares during the same period. Sandberg has been cashing in her shares systematically over the last few months, and her most recent transaction has been the most profitable.
The 43-year old COO was the first woman to sit in the board of directors at Facebook. She was previously a Vice President at Google, where she was instrumental in establishing the search engine giant’s philanthropic operations. She has also served the boards of Starbucks and The Walt Disney Company, and is one of the most powerful women in business today.