Let's say you're the CFO of a company which is worth more than $65 a share. You get 200,000 options to buy shares at $30 apiece, and the shares are trading at $52. You could sell the shares immediately and lock in $4.2 million, or you could wait until the shares were more fairly valued, in which case those options would be worth $7 million. What do you do? If you're Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD) CFO Randy Baker, you sell. And then you dissemble:
[Baker] stressed that while he exercised options to buy 200,000 shares at about $30 each, he didn't turn around and sell all of them. He kept 1,414.
He also noted that not all of Anheuser senior executives are swimming in cash. "I'm from a small town in Kentucky. I didn’t come from family wealth," he said.
Yeah, the poor guy probably really needed the money, otherwise why would he have sold. Lucky for him that if the InBev (INBVF.PK) takeover goes through, he'll receive another $58 million. Which is probably enough to buy that small town in Kentucky.
Alternatively, of course, there's the possibility that he never really thought Anheuser-Busch was worth much more than $52 per share, let alone $65. But we know that's not the case, because he says so himself.
He added, "I don't think it's a fair statement to say that I or the others were expressing a view of our stock price at that time."
Well, maybe he should have done. It could have netted him an extra few million, not that he needs the money.