Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Insider Buying: Top Execs — But Not Its CEO Carol Bartz — Purchase Shares of Yahoo on the Open Market

While they are only small transactions, two of Yahoo’s top execs — Americas head Ross Levinsohn and its Chief Product Officer Blake Irving (pictured here) — seem to have forked over their own dough to buy shares of the troubled company.

Levinsohn and Irving — like a lot of other Yahoos in the same leaky boat — have lots of stock options in the Silicon Valley Internet giant that are likely very much underwater these days. They also have hundreds of thousands of cost-free restricted stock units.

Still, with Yahoo shares in a free fall, the pair apparently bellied up to the bar and purchased stock directly last Friday and on Monday, according to required insider filings.

Levinsohn bought 10,000 shares at $11.61 and Irving got 10,000 at $11.23.

It seems they are the only high-ranking execs who have bought Yahoo stock in a while, including its CEO Carol Bartz, without some link to shares they have been given by the company and via programmed or automatic purchases and sales.

Executives buying shares of their own company often are an indicator of confidence in the company, and CEOs — such as AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has — often do it in dicey times to make a statement of belief in its prospects.

It will be interesting to see if other Yahoo top execs do the same.

Yahoo could certainly use the boost. Shares are down 23 percent since the beginning of the year, giving it an affordable $16.7 billion market valuation.

Still, while both men initially lost money in the current market turmoil that has also hit Yahoo hard, they seem to be up about $10,000 each, for now, on their approximately $110,000 bets that Yahoo shares are too low.

Its stock closed up today 9.3 percent, at $12.86.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald