Thursday, July 10, 2014

For Second Time In 30 Days, Chairman & CEO Lightens Holdings Slightly, Via Pre-Arranged Plan Sales

At the end of the day yesterday, Mr. Frazier disclosed another near 10,000 share sale, bringing his total sales to close to 20,000 shares since June 10, 2014. Each of these were via cashless exercises of options, in each case options granted and vested many years ago -- they were relatively close to expiry date, in any event.

As we said then, however, since these are simply pre-set trading plan sales -- they do not reflect a view of any kind -- about Merck's current operations or prospects. As with all high executives at Merck, he is now likely over-invested (from a diversification standpoint) in Merck -- it is his career as well as his single largest investment (by asset class), in all likelihood. So this small diversification should not concern the market. Afterall, Mr. Frazier still owns over 341,000 Merck common shares outright (and holds the right to acquire several hundred thousand more, via options) -- after these transactions.

In fact, after the cashless exercises of a day or so ago (and the related partial sales) -- his net position has increased slightly -- by about 3,000 shares since June 10, 2014. He's up -- not down -- in total beneficial ownership of Merck stock. Trust that.

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