Wrestling fans are used to Stephanie McMahon making news on-screen, like when she recently launched the “Divas Revolution” by elevating female talent from the NXT developmental brand to the WWE main roster. In fact, a simple return to television from a short hiatus is often treated as major news.
This time, Stephanie McMahon is making news off-screen.
In a recent filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, WWE Chief Brand Officer (and on-screen authority figure) Stephanie McMahon Levesque sold nearly $1.8 million in WWE stock, totaling almost 140,000 shares. According to Yahoo! Finance, the sales took place on September 1 and 2. This brought her total for a 30-day period to over $2 million.
According to blogger Mike Feiman, this comes after WWE stock hit a 12-month high. In the thirty days prior to McMahon’s sale, five other high-ranking company executives completed sales of a portion of their stock holdings, and according to Feiman this ranges from five to 40 percent of their individual ownership.
Determining why these moves are made, as Feiman details, is no simple task.
“In some cases, they are simply looking to diversify their portfolios or reduce risk. Costly events such as weddings or college tuition can also drive insider sales. People use automatic buy and sell triggers that go into effect once a stock hits a certain price, which was the cause of some of this selling. That being said, it is worth noting the number of high level executives that all sold significant percentages of their holdings in August.”
Stock holdings tend to be a major portion of a company executive’s compensation package, and for a WWE executive this past month’s high represented an opportunity to profit from their efforts. August 2015 was the first time WWE stock broke $20 per share since early 2014.
While Feiman noted that he can easily see Stephanie McMahon’s stock sales as being justified, it should be viewed with a cautious eye.
“I don’t blame any of them for taking money off the table, especially considering how much the stock has gone up in the past 9 months. Hell, I won’t own it at this level. There’s way too much risk trying to project the growth of the network. Even so, watching several major insiders dump 30-40% of their holdings at basically the same time doesn’t give me warm fuzzies.”
The Wrestling Observer (via 411Mania), reports that McMahon-Levesque’s stock moves are part of a larger stock strategy that wil continue through the end of 2015.
At the very least, sales of this nature is a reminder to the average wrestling fan that the WWE is in fact a global media business, not just a frequent dose of sports entertainment.
[Image via WWE]