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Are Insiders Selling Travelzoo (NASDAQ:TZOO) Stock?

Simply Wall St

We've lost count of how many times insiders have accumulated shares in a company that goes on to improve markedly. The flip side of that is that there are more than a few examples of insiders dumping stock prior to a period of weak performance. So we'll take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in Travelzoo (NASDAQ:TZOO).

What Is Insider Buying?

Most investors know that it is quite permissible for company leaders, such as directors of the board, to buy and sell stock in the company. However, such insiders must disclose their trading activities, and not trade on inside information.

We don't think shareholders should simply follow insider transactions. But logic dictates you should pay some attention to whether insiders are buying or selling shares. For example, a Columbia University study found that 'insiders are more likely to engage in open market purchases of their own company’s stock when the firm is about to reveal new agreements with customers and suppliers'.

View our latest analysis for Travelzoo

Travelzoo Insider Transactions Over The Last Year

In the last twelve months, the biggest single sale by an insider was when the Founder, Ralph Bartel, sold US$1.5m worth of shares at a price of US$15.40 per share. While we don't usually like to see insider selling, it's more concerning if the sales take place at a lower price. It's of some comfort that this sale was conducted at a price well above the current share price, which is US$10.33. So it is hard to draw any strong conclusion from it. Ralph Bartel was the only individual insider to sell shares in the last twelve months.

Ralph Bartel ditched 559150 shares over the year. The average price per share was US$14.98. You can see the insider transactions (by individuals) over the last year depicted in the chart below. If you click on the chart, you can see all the individual transactions, including the share price, individual, and the date!

NasdaqGS:TZOO Recent Insider Trading, October 31st 2019
NasdaqGS:TZOO Recent Insider Trading, October 31st 2019

If you like to buy stocks that insiders are buying, rather than selling, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

Insiders at Travelzoo Have Sold Stock Recently

The last quarter saw substantial insider selling of Travelzoo shares. Specifically, Founder Ralph Bartel ditched US$2.0m worth of shares in that time, and we didn't record any purchases whatsoever. In light of this it's hard to argue that all the insiders think that the shares are a bargain.

Insider Ownership of Travelzoo

I like to look at how many shares insiders own in a company, to help inform my view of how aligned they are with insiders. Usually, the higher the insider ownership, the more likely it is that insiders will be incentivised to build the company for the long term. It's great to see that Travelzoo insiders own 51% of the company, worth about US$62m. This kind of significant ownership by insiders does generally increase the chance that the company is run in the interest of all shareholders.

So What Does This Data Suggest About Travelzoo Insiders?

An insider sold Travelzoo shares recently, but they didn't buy any. Zooming out, the longer term picture doesn't give us much comfort. But since Travelzoo is profitable and growing, we're not too worried by this. While insiders do own a lot of shares in the company (which is good), our analysis of their transactions doesn't make us feel confident about the company. If you are like me, you may want to think about whether this company will grow or shrink. Luckily, you can check this free report showing analyst forecasts for its future.

But note: Travelzoo may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with high ROE and low debt.

For the purposes of this article, insiders are those individuals who report their transactions to the relevant regulatory body. We currently account for open market transactions and private dispositions, but not derivative transactions.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.