Top Insider Trades: Big Purchases in Cracker Barrel and United Insurance

By Jonathan Moreland  DEC 14, 2012 1:20 PM

Plus: A purchase at TheStreet and three sales in KAR Auction


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 Thursday, December 13, 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 purchases, Sardar Biglari, the Chairman and CEO of Biglari Holdings (NYSE:BH), bought $31,558.556 worth of stock in Cracker Barrel (NASDAQ:CBRL), the chain of Southern themed restaurant/gift stores. Biglari Holdings also controls Steak n' Shake and Western Sizzlin' restaurants. New York investment firm First Eagle Investment Management bought $5,000,000 worth of Aradigm (OTC:ARDM), a pharmaceutical company focused on developing hand-held pulmonary drug delivery systems. William C Martin, a 10% owner of TheStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ:TST), bought $213,341worth of shares in the business, consumer, and financial news website.

There was big sales activity: Apollo Management Group (NYSE:APO) sold $1,013,880,000 worth of its stock in LyondellBasell Industries NV (NYSE:LYB). LYB is a multinational chemical company based in the Netherlands that primarily manufactures polyolefin for a wide array of industrial products and applications. KKR & Co. (NYSE:KKR), the American private equity firm that specializes in leverages buyouts, sold $392,404,986 of its stock in Avago Technologies (NASDAQ:AVGO), one of the world's largest semiconductor companies. Avago was formed in 2005 when KKR, in partnership with Silver Lake Gp, acquired the semiconductor division of Agilent (NYSE:A). Yesterday's chart showed that Silver Lake sold a similar amount ($38,969,232) of Avago stock.

KAR Auction (NYSE:KAR), which, through its many subsidiaries, provides a full spectrum of services including whole car sales and salvage, financing, remarketing, technology, inspection, and repair services, had three major insider sales today. KAR Holdings II, 10% owner of KAR Auction, sold $259,461,568 worth of its shares, Kelso and Co. Investment (NASDAQ:BKCC) sold $110,053,664 of stock, and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) sold $65,759,976 of stock.

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.