Top Apple Execs Sold $143 Million Of Their Stock Right Before AAPL Plunged

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Tim Cook

Getty Images, Justin Sullivan

Tim Cook: Sold some stock.

Top Apple executives, including CEO Tim Cook, have sold off a massive amount of company stock in a planned sale.

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Cult Of Mac reports, citing a report in Barron's, that five key Apple executives sold off stock in 10b5-1 planned sales.

  • CEO Tim Cook sold 348,425 shares for $35,250,297.
  • Senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller sold 348,846 shares for $35,256,000.
  • CFO Luca Maestri sold his entire direct holdings of 16,374 shares for $1,631,286.
  • Senior vice president of operations Jeffrey E. Williams, sold 348,846 shares for $35,233,446.
  • General counsel and senior vice president of legal and government affairs Bruce D. Sewell sold 348,846 shares for $35,393,915.

Scheduled stock sales allow management to gain their stock-based performance compensation while shielding them from accusations that they are merely selling when it's convenient. Of course, managers do maintain control of product release dates. And it's a matter of some debate whether new iPhone releases make Apple stock rise or fall - it depends on the timeframe before and after the release that you use to answer that question.

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The sales came right before Apple's iPhone 6 launch problems, Cult of Mac says:

The sales came between September 5 and 22, days after Apple shares hit a record high, following this year's 7-to-1 stock split.

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Cook now owns less than a 1 percent stake in Apple. He previously sold off chunks of stock in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Apple shares struggled yesterday. Problems with the iOS 8 update and reports of an unintentionally bendy iPhone 6 resulted in $20 billion being wiped off the company's value as shares fell 3.5%. The share price later evened out before the final bell.

The New York Stock Exchange doesn't wake up for a few more hours. But the question on traders' minds will be, "Has the market fully priced-in the flaws in iOS 8 and iPhone 6? Or will the mom and pop retail traders, who usually move a bit slower than the investment banks, wade in today and begin the selloff anew?"

We'll be tracking it for you later on today, of course.

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