Eight top executives at Louisville-based Humana cashed out 323,648 shares of company stock Tuesday and pocketed $66.4 million. If they weren’t millionaires before Tuesday, all but one entered the club after the selloff.
The stock sale by president and CEO Bruce Broussard, and seven other officers, came just days after the health insurance giant announced that a $37 billion merger with rival Aetna was off. The stock had more than doubled in years and was near $200 a share while the acquisition by Aetna was in play. If the sale had gone through, shareholders, including the executives who own thousands of shares, were expected to receive as much as $230 in stock and cash for each Humana share. With the deal off, most analysts expect the share price to drop, possibly by $50 to $60 a share. Tuesday’s block went for more than $205 a share. The sales were filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission under insider trading disclosure rules. The laws also require that such sales can’t exceed 1 percent of a company’s outstanding shares, which total more than 198 million.
Why sell now? Humana spokesman Tom Noland said in an email that executives “had limited opportunities to engage in stock transactions for the last two years owing to the Aetna transaction. ... Some senior executives are now exercising options and/or selling stock.”
It’s not a signal they’re jumping ship or think the insurer is in trouble. Noland said. “Senior management continues to be very confident in Humana and the opportunities ahead for our company, and after these transactions, they will continue to own shares in excess of the minimum required by our stock ownership guidelines.”
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Chief operating officer James Murray, who will retire next month, cashed out the largest bundle, 118,971 shares for $24.4 million. Broussard, dumped 104,256 shares for $21.4 million. Here’s a rundown of the others, in order of value: David Jones Jr., board member and son of co-founder David Jones: 27,000 shares for $5.5 million; senior vice president Timothy J. Huval, 25,529 shares for $5.2 million; senior vice president Christopher M. Todorff, 24,140 shares for $4.9 million; senior vice president Heidi Margulis, 13,452 shares for nearly $2.8 million; senior vice president Jody Bilney, 6,087 shares for more than $1.2 million; chief accounting officer Cynthia H. Zipperle, 4,213 shares for $870,606.
A federal court judge ruled in January in favor of regulators who had sued to block the tie-up between Connecticut-based Aetna and Humana, citing antitrust violations. Humana executives said earlier this month that they think Humana is poised for growth and has a bright future. The company has 51,600 employees, including 12,500 in Louisville.