Roy E. Disney, 67-year-old family scion and vice chairman of Burbank-based Walt Disney Co., sold 1.2 million shares of Disney stock in June.
Roy Disney sold his nearly $100 million worth of shares for between $80.50 and $84.125 a share not far off from Disney's all-time high of $85.125 a share. Disney stock peaked just a week after Disney concluded his sales, on June 17.
Disney retains the vast majority of his holdings, which now stands at about 6.16 million shares, or about $480 million at market prices last week.
Roy Disney's sale won grudging admiration from Arthur Rockwell, analyst with Yaeger Capital Markets Inc.
"It seems he sold near the top. Disney hasn't really kept pace with the Dow (since Disney's sales) in June," said Rockwell.
The Dow has rallied since June, reaching 8,000 last week and setting all-time highs. But Disney has languished since Roy Disney's sales, and traded under $80 a share last week.
Rockwell said that Disney Chairman Michael Eisner's recently changed compensation plan, in concert with Roy Disney's sales, might be meaningful for watchers of Disney stock. "Before (the last annual meeting) Eisner's compensation was based on him achieving a 20 percent return on equity. Now, he has to shoot for a 15 percent increase in earnings per share," said Rockwell.
The new target is easier to hit, in part because of the lower percentage target and because the Disney corporation can buy back stock, thus boosting earnings per share, said Rockwell.
Eisner's package is an implicit admission the go-go days are gone, said Rockwell. "Disney is a much bigger and more mature company. Obviously, it cannot grow the way it did in the 1980s and early 1990s," he said.
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