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Are Insiders Selling VeriSign, Inc. (NASDAQ:VRSN) Stock?

Alexis Guardo

It is not uncommon to see companies perform well in the years after insiders buy shares. On the other hand, we’d be remiss not to mention that insider sales have been known to precede tough periods for a business. So shareholders might well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in VeriSign, Inc. (NASDAQ:VRSN).

What Is Insider Selling?

It is perfectly legal for company insiders, including board members, to buy and sell stock in a 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 it is perfectly logical to keep tabs on what insiders are doing. 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’.

See our latest analysis for VeriSign

VeriSign Insider Transactions Over The Last Year

Executive VP Thomas Indelicarto made the biggest insider sale in the last 12 months. That single transaction was for US$498k worth of shares at a price of US$151 each. So it’s clear an insider wanted to take some cash off the table, even below the current price of US$156. Even though it doesn’t necessarily mean anything, that’s certainly not a positive sign, in our book. As a general rule we consider it to be discouraging when insiders are selling below the current price. It is worth noting that this sale was only 5.9% of Thomas Indelicarto’s holding.

We note that in the last year insiders divested 6.07k shares for a total of US$943k. In total, VeriSign insiders sold more than they bought over the last year. The sellers received a price of around US$155, on average. It’s not ideal to see that insiders have sold at around the current price. While some insiders have decided to take some money off the table, we wouldn’t put too much weight on this fact. 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:VRSN Insider Trading January 10th 19

If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

Insiders at VeriSign Have Sold Stock Recently

The last quarter saw substantial insider selling of VeriSign shares. In total, insiders sold US$943k worth of shares in that time, and we didn’t record any purchases whatsoever. This may suggest that some insiders think that the shares are not cheap.

Does VeriSign Boast High Insider Ownership?

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. I reckon it’s a good sign if insiders own a significant number of shares in the company. VeriSign insiders own about US$211m worth of shares (which is 1.2% of the company). This kind of significant ownership by insiders does generally increase the chance that the company is run in the interest of all shareholders.

What Might The Insider Transactions At VeriSign Tell Us?

Insiders sold stock recently, but they haven’t been buying. And there weren’t any purchases to give us comfort, over the last year. On the plus side, VeriSign makes money, and is growing profits. 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. Of course, the future is what matters most. So if you are interested in VeriSign, you should check out this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.