Insider Buys and Sells: Washington Post, News Corp.

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 |  Includes: ATPAQ, DISCA, GHC, HALO, KRO, MELI, MNK, NWS, OZRK, SWS
by: Asif Suria

Welcome to edition seventy six of Insider Weekends. Insider buying increased slightly with insiders purchasing $40.99 million of their stock last week compared to $40.4 million in the week prior. Selling declined with insiders selling $909.37 million worth of stock.

Sell/Buy Ratio: The insider Sell/Buy ratio is calculated by dividing the total insider sales in a given week by total insider purchases that week. The adjusted ratio for last week dropped to 22.2. In other words, insiders sold more than 22 times as much stock as they purchased. The Sell/Buy ratio this week compares favorably with the week prior when the ratio stood at 27.2. We are calculating an adjusted ratio by removing transactions by funds and companies and trying as best as possible only to retain information about insiders and 10% owners who are not funds or companies.

Insider Sell Buy Ratio November 18, 2011:

Insider Sell Buy Ratio November 18, 2011
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Note: As mentioned in the first post in this series Introduction to Insider Weekends, certain industries have their preferred metrics such as same store sales for retailers, funds from operations (FFO) for REITs and revenue per available room (RevPAR) for hotels that provide a better basis for comparison than simple valuation metrics. However metrics like Price/Earnings, Price/Sales and Enterprise Value/EBITDA included below should provide a good starting point for analyzing the majority of stocks.

Notable Insider Buys:

1. Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:HALO): $8.27

Shares of this biotech company were acquired by 2 insiders:

  • Director Randal J. Kirk acquired 638,224 shares, paying $8.17 per share for a total amount of $5.2 million. These shares were purchased indirectly through Kapital Joe, LLC.
  • Director Robert Engler acquired 5,000 shares, paying $8.15 per share for a total amount of $40,750. Mr. Engler increased his stake by 4.00% to 130,000 shares with this purchase.

Randal J. Kirk, a Virginia biotech investor with an estimated net worth of $2.2 billion, controls Kapital Joe, LLC. Following his previous purchase of Halozyme in August when he picked up 1 million shares for $5.95, we wrote,

It looks like Mr. Kirk is using this drop in the market to add to his positions. We covered his $4.04 million purchase of another bioteh Ziopharm Oncology (NASDAQ:ZIOP) earlier this week. Halozyme swung to a second quarter net profit of $3.12 million on revenue of $23.19 million when it reported results this week. Second quarter revenue benefited from $18.0 million in upfront license fees and a $3.0 million milestone payment from Baxter.

The Forbes article titled “The Next Big Move For The Smartest Biotech Investor” provides an interesting overview of Mr. Kirk and his interest in Ziopharm.

You can view the list of recent insider transactions for Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. here.

P/E: N/A Forward P/E: N/A Industry P/E: 15.9
P/S: 15.24 Price/Book: 32.25 EV/EBITDA: -46.8
Market Cap: $853.74M Avg. Daily Volume: 653,254 52 Week Range: $5.54 – $9.04
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2. SWS Group, Inc. (NYSE:SWS): $5.51

Shares of this financial services company were acquired by 2 insiders:

  • Director Gerald J. Ford acquired 744,400 shares, paying $5.28 per share for a total amount of $3.9 million. These shares were purchased indirectly by Hilltop Holdings Inc., of which Mr. Ford is Chairman of the Board and a 26.6% beneficial owner.
  • CFO Stacy M. Holdges acquired 4,467 shares, paying $5.59 per share for a total amount of $24,971.

As you can see from this page, there has been nothing but insider buying at SWS Group. This purchase is however the largest single insider purchase in over a year. This blog post provides some intersting color on both Hilltop Holdings and Mr. Ford.

You can view the list of recent insider transactions for SWS Group Inc. here.

P/E: N/A Forward P/E: N/A Industry P/E: 13.78
P/S: N/A Price/Book: N/A EV/EBITDA: N/A
Market Cap: $N/A Avg. Daily Volume: N/A 52 Week Range: $3.67 – $6.76
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3. Kronos Worldwide Inc. (NYSE:KRO): $19.15

Shares of this titanium dioxide producer were acquired by 2 insiders:

  • Chairman of the Board Harold C. Simmons acquired 100,000 shares, paying $19.21 per share for a total amount of $1.9 million. These shares were acquired indirectly by Mr. Simmons’s spouse.
  • Vice Chairman of the Board & CEO Steven L. Watson acquired 7,000 shares, paying $19.45 per share for a total amount of $136,120. Mr. Watson increased his stake by 7.64% to 98,652 shares with this purchase.

You can view the list of recent insider transactions for Kronos Worldwide Inc. here.

P/E: 8.06 Forward P/E: 5.68 Industry P/E: 10.82
P/S: 1.29 Price/Book: 2.72 EV/EBITDA: 5.23
Market Cap: $2.22B Avg. Daily Volume: 818,991 52 Week Range: $14.16 – $34.5
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4. ATP Oil & Gas Corp. (ATPG): $6.9

Shares of this oil and gas company were acquired by 2 insiders:

  • Director Burt A. Adams acquired 100,000 shares, paying $6.49 per share for a total amount of $649,000. Mr. Adams increased his stake by 51.28% to 295,026 shares with this purchase.
  • Chief Executive Officer Paul Bulmahn acquired 65,000 shares, paying $6.19 per share for a total amount of $402,450. Mr. Bulmahn increased his stake by 1.06% to 6,209,853 shares with this purchase.

You can view the list of recent insider transactions for ATP Oil & Gas Corp. here.

P/E: N/A Forward P/E: N/A Industry P/E: N/A
P/S: 0.57 Price/Book: N/A EV/EBITDA: 4.65
Market Cap: $352.77M Avg. Daily Volume: 2,346,900 52 Week Range: $5.53 – $21.4
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5. The Washington Post Company (WPO): $348.32

Director Barry Diller acquired 3,000 shares of this education and media company, paying $345.27 per share for a total amount of $1.04 million. Mr. Diller increased his stake by 300% to 4,000 shares with this purchase.

You can view the list of recent insider transactions for The Washington Post Company here.

P/E: 21.08 Forward P/E: 20.77 Industry P/E: 12.27
P/S: 0.62 Price/Book: 1.05 EV/EBITDA: 4.04
Market Cap: $2.69B Avg. Daily Volume: 41,866 52 Week Range: $308.5 – $455.68
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You can view the full list of purchases from this Insider Buying page.

Notable Insider Sales:

1. News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWS): $16.82

Chairman and CEO Keith Rupert Murdoch sold 3,633,311 shares of this media company for $16.98, generating $61.7 million from the sale.

You can view the list of recent insider transactions for News Corp. here.

P/E: 16.51 Forward P/E: N/A Industry P/E: N/A
P/S: 1.26 Price/Book: 1.59 EV/EBITDA: 7.23
Market Cap: $42.40B Avg. Daily Volume: 5,806,640 52 Week Range: $13.83 – $19.08
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2. Mercadolibre, Inc. (NASDAQ:MELI): $83.15

Director Anton J. Levy sold 367,552 shares of this Argentinian online commerce and payment platform provider for $86.15, generating $31.7 million from the sale. These shares were sold indirectly by General Atlantic Partners. Mr. Anton J Levy is a Managing Director at General Atlantic’s New York City office.

You can view the list of recent insider transactions for Mercadolibre, Inc. here.

P/E: 51.68 Forward P/E: 36 Industry P/E: 18.53
P/S: 13.91 Price/Book: 18.7 EV/EBITDA: 36.04
Market Cap: $3.67B Avg. Daily Volume: 606,618 52 Week Range: $48.3 – $92.73
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3. Discovery Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:DISCA): $40.62

Shares of this media and entertainment company were sold by 2 insiders:

  • Founder John S. Hendricks sold 500,000 shares for $42.06, generating $21.03 million from the sale.
  • SEVP & Chief Financial Officer Bradley E. Singer sold 100,000 shares for $41.71, generating $4.2 million from the sale. These shares were sold as a result of exercising options immediately prior to the sale.

You can view the list of recent insider transactions for Discovery Communications, Inc. here.

P/E: 16.95 Forward P/E: 14.3 Industry P/E: 16.2
P/S: 3.9 Price/Book: 2.51 EV/EBITDA: 10.88
Market Cap: $16.04B Avg. Daily Volume: 1,839,630 52 Week Range: $34.75 – $45.81
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4. Bank of the Ozarks, Inc. (NASDAQ:OZRK): $26.66

Shares of this regional bank were sold by 3 insiders:

  • Chairman & CEO George G. Gleason sold 326,685 shares for $26.28, generating $8.6 million from the sale.
  • Vice Chairman, President, COO Mark D. Ross sold 10,000 shares for $26.90, generating $268,988 from the sale. These shares were sold as a result of exercising options immediately prior to the sale.

You can view the list of recent insider transactions for Bank of the Ozarks, Inc. here.

P/E: 9.11 Forward P/E: 14.26 Industry P/E: 13.44
P/S: 4.74 Price/Book: 2.24 EV/EBITDA: N/A
Market Cap: $913.82M Avg. Daily Volume: 279,574 52 Week Range: $18.77 – $27.71
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5. Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (QCOR): $42.5

Shares of this pharmaceutical company company were sold by 4 insiders:

  • Senior VP, Pharm. Operations David Jeffrey Medeiros sold 173,608 shares for $43.27, generating $7.5 million from the sale. These shares were sold as a result of exercising options immediately prior to the sale.
  • Director Mitchell J. Blutt M.D. sold 150,000 shares for $43.94, generating $6.6 million from the sale.
  • Director Stephen C. Farrell sold 30,000 shares for $43.45, generating $1.3 million from the sale.
  • President & CEO Don M. Bailey sold 30,000 shares for $41.07, generating $1.2 million from the sale. These shares were sold as a result of exercising options immediately prior to the sale.

You can view the list of recent insider transactions for Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. here.

P/E: 51.77 Forward P/E: 22.85 Industry P/E: 15.9
P/S: 14.98 Price/Book: 14.92 EV/EBITDA: 30.23
Market Cap: $2.66B Avg. Daily Volume: 1,220,170 52 Week Range: $12.16 – $44.51
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You can view the full list of sales from this Insider Sales page.

Disclosure: See author's portfolio holdings here.