Top Insider Trades: Google and Conn's on the Sales List Again

By Jonathan Moreland  DEC 13, 2012 4:00 PM

Plus: Liberty Interactive buys Tripadvisor, and several oil and gas purchases are led by Anadarko Petroleum.


In a victory for common sense, the trading behavior of company executives, directors, and large shareholders in the stocks of firms they're registered "insiders" at have been proven profitable to monitor by both academic studies and (more importantly) the experience of your fellow professional investors.

Below are lists of the top 10 mainly open-market insider purchases and sales filed at the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday, December 12, 2012 as ranked by dollar value.

Please note, however, that these are factual lists, not buy and sell recommendations. Dollar value is only one metric to assess the importance of an insider transaction, and, frankly, often not even the most important metric that determines if an insider transaction is significant.

In the biggest insider purchase, Liberty Interactive (NASDAQ:LINTA), the media and digitial commerce corporation with holdings from Home Shopping Network (NASDAQ:HSNI) to, bought a controlling stake ($299,990,496 of sharea) in Tripadvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP), the travel website that gathers travel information, reviews, and interactive forums. Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC), one of the world's largest independent oil and natural gas exploration/production companies, bought $401,256,448 of Western Gas (NYSE:WES) stock. Western Gas was formed by Anadarko Petroleum in May 2008 to carry out its energy mistream business. In other oil news, Malik Youyou, who has been Independent Director of Deep Weel Oil and Gas since 2008, bought $3,000,000 of stock in the company, which primarily explores and produces in Canada.

In the biggest sale, Silver Lake, a US-based private equity firm that focuses on leveraged buyout and technology investments, sold $38,969,232 worth of Avago Technologies (NASDAQ:AVGO) stock. Avago Tech, one of the world's largest privately held semiconductor companies, was formed when Silver Lake and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co., acquired the semiconductor division of Agilent (NYSE:A) in 2005. 

Both Conn's (NASDAQ:CONN) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) appear on the sales list again. Warren A. Stephens, who has been chairman, president, and CEO of his investment bank Stephens, Inc. since 1986, sold $38,969,232 of Conn's, the Texas-based electronics and appliance store.  Yesterday Arkansas-based SG 1890, of which Stephens is the manager, sold $57,900,500 of Conn's stock. And Google CEO Larry Page is selling Google stock again; today it is $19,396,116 worth (yesterday he sold a similar amount: $19,377,674).

At, we find new investment ideas just about every day using these and more intricate insider screens to determine where we should focus our subsequent fundamental and technical analysis. And while stocks don't (or shouldn't) move up or down based on insider activity alone, insiders tend to be good indicators of when real stock-moving events like earnings surprises, corporate actions, and new products may be in the offing.

Source: | Key to Insider Title and Trans Type Codes

Source: | Key to Insider Title and Trans Type Codes

Editor's note: Jonathan Moreland is the founder of Insider Insights and author of "Profit From Legal Insider Trading."
No positions in stocks mentioned.