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Google Inc. (GOOG): Insiders Sold $280M Prior to Crash

Google Inc. (GOOG)Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) released its quarterly earnings report a few hours early Thursday – by accident, the company claims – and the stock price plummeted 9 percent in just a few minutes in the middle of the trading day, forcing NASDAQ to suspend trading for a period. As the earnings report came out, it was a huge disappointment, as Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) earnings missed analysts’ estimates by 10 percent, which sent the stock down sharply. However, in the days just prior to the report, three prominent insiders sold off a significant number of shares that totaled more than $280 million, with the chairman of the board jettisoning more than $150 million by himself.

Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) chairman Eric Schmidt was very active in late September, as he executed 226 transactions in just three days from Sept. 24 to 26, selling off more than 211,000 shares at per-share prices between $742 and $764 per share. He came away with about $158 million.

Other noteworthy insiders are Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) CEO Larry Page and co-founder Sergey Brin, who had conducted several insider sales in the first half of this month, totaling about $120 million in value and the pair spared themselves about $12 million in combined losses. Brin conducted a series of transactions Tuesday, October 2, selling 83,334 shares at between $750-$765 a share, with a combined value of at least $62.5 million. Page had been selling shares regularly over several days. Starting October 8, he sold 20,833 shares at $754-$762 a share for a value of $15.7 million; 20833 shares at $744-$760 October 9, for a value of $15.5 million; 20,833 shares at prices between $741 and $746 per share October 10, for a value of $15.4 million; and 20,835 shares at prices between $752 and $758 October 11, a value of $15.7 million.

OTHER INSIDER NEWS

There were some other companies who reported their earnings Thursday – on time, by the way – and there were a few insider transactions at those companies in recent weeks. At the Travelers Companies Inc. (NYSE:TRV), which beat estimates, showed that three insiders made recent sales of their holdings. Executive vice president William Cunningham sold 2,500 shares at $70 each October 4, for a value of $175,000. Travelers Companies Inc. (NYSE:TRV) CFO Jay Benet sold more than 29,000 shares at $67.50 each, for a value of $2 million Sept. 12; and executive vice president John Clifford made a Sept. 11 sale of more than 13,000 shares at $66.02 each, for a value of more than $860,000.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) also posted its earnings Thursday, and the company beat estimates, and two insiders reported three sales of stock in the six weeks since the beginning of September.  Frank Brod, chief accounting officer, sold 15,000 shares Sept. 4 at $30.41 per share for a value of more than $450,000; and Kevin Turner, chief operating officer at Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) posted sales of nearly 127,000 shares at $30.52 Sept. 4, then nearly 50,000 shares at #30.83 per share Sept. 10, for a total value of about $5.3 million.

You can check out our Insider Sales page to find other transactions regarding Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) stock. Also in October, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) board member John Doerr sold his 6,000-share holding at between $759 and $762 per share, for a total value of about $4.5 million, and senior vice president David Drummond pared off 568 shares at $759 each for a value of about $430,000.

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