Multiple Insiders Buying NRG Energy Stock (MIR, NRG)

Includes: NRG
by: InsiderScore

Insider Score LogoFrom InsiderScore: After a rival withdrew an unsolicited bid for NRG Energy (NYSE:NRG), five insiders at the power outfit stepped up and bought stock. Here is a rundown of the buying activity, all of which occurred on June 12th:

President & CEO David Crane purchased 4K shares at $46.70, raising his stake to 219K shares. Crane previously purchased 3K shares at $38.60 in November 2005 and 2.5K shares at $21.35 in May 2004. A director at the company, Crane has about 430K exercisable stock options as well.

CFO Robert Flexon bought 1.6K shares at $46.77, bringing his holdings to 44.4K shares. Flexon's previous buys came at $38.64 in November 2005 and $23.20 in June 2004. Flexon also has options on about 67.3K shares that are exercisable.

EVP of Commercial Operations Kevin Howell acquired 1.5K shares at $45.75, giving him 166.7K shares. Howell had not previously bought stock on the open market, and according to NRG's late March Proxy filing, he had no exercisable options.

VP of Plant Operations Christine Jacobs picked up 1.5K shares at $45.43, upping her holdings to 9.6K shares. Jacobs has about 5K exercisable options, and she had never previously purchased NRG shares on the open market.

EVP & Regional President of the Northeast Curtis Morgan took down 1.5K shares at $46.31, raising his holdings to 18.2K shares. Morgan joined the company in March and his previous holdings were restricted share grants.

Shares of NRG hit an all-time high of $52.61 on June 1st after rival Mirant (MIR) made an unsolicited $8B, or $57.16 per share, cash and stock bid to acquire the company. The price represented a 33% premium for NRG, and the bid, announced on May 30th, lit a fire under NRG, re-basing the stock more than 15% higher.

The move by MIR was seen as gutsy, especially after the company sued NRG claiming that it was obstructing the takeover offer by claiming that MIR was using confidential information from a financial adviser to develop its bid. NRG, which recently exited one of the largest bankruptcies in American history, moved to have the lawsuit dismissed, saying that it was not obstructing the bid because its board had already unanimously rejected it. MIR shareholders, including Jana Partners, voiced opposition to the bid, and Standard & Poor's put NRG's debt on credit watch with negative implications saying that the deal would "erode or even possibly exhaust NRG's liquidity cushion."

On Monday June 12th, the day NRG insiders bought stock, MIR rescinded its offer.

"Over the past 24 months, NRG's stock has appreciated 120% as the market has recognized the value of our asset mix, the soundness of our strategy, and our history of returning capital to shareholders. We are poised for further value creation and look forward to the continued execution of our strategic plan," NRG said in a statement responding to MIR.

Analysts seemed relieved that MIR withdrew its offer, and S&P removed NRG from the credit-watch list. NRG shares fell as a result of the withdrawn bid, but Goldman Sachs analyst Michael Lapides told clients that "NRG represents one of the best risk/reward opportunities in the power sector."

Worth Noting: MIR's move may prove costly for the company's management, as it opened the door for Jana Partners and another activist hedge fund, Pirate Capital, to begin some public cage rattling. Pirate, for example, told MIR Chairman and CEO Ed Muller that it should not be looking for acquisitions, but instead should put itself up for sale.