The CEO of Funcom, makers of Age of Conan, Trond Aas Anderson has sold a significant portion of his stock in the company in the last couple of weeks. The law requires that all executive officers who sell their personal stock must announce it publicly, and in the announcement of Mr. Anderson's sale it states that he sold nearly 20% of his total holding for roughly 17.28 per share (local currency). The announcement also said that this sale was to cover the acquisition and tax costs for all of Mr. Anderson's shares - but some on the web are a bit more suspicious:
The timing of this sale is what has fans of Funcom's games particularly concerned. The recent quarterly earnings report showed that Age of Conan had already lost nearly half of its customers. After the first two months, AoC was down from 800,000+ subscribers to approximately 415,000.
The stock price of Funcom N.V has been in free fall lately. As of August 22, 2008 it closed at $13.60 per share. This is down from $55.50 in late May (just after the release of Age of Conan).
Personally, I'm inclined to think that this was an innocent stock trade. The high volume of shares sold is probably due to the fact that the share price has plummeted so far. Of course, without data about acquisition costs, I can't say that for sure. However, if the drop in stock price and subscribers continues into next quarter, or other executives start selling stock, then I think it will be time to look really hard at what is going on at Funcom.
To see the official announcement of Mr. Anderson's stock sale, please check here.
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