AMC insider selling picks up as meme stock rises amid retail wave

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A sign hangs in front of an AMC theater on January 27, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. Shares of AMC Entertainment more than quadrupled today as investors continue their buying spree on heavily shorted stocks.
Scott Olson | Getty Images

Insider-selling activity at AMC Entertainment ramped up like never before during the recent explosive rally driven by enthusiastic retail investors.

A total of seven insiders at the movie theater chain sold a portion of their stake since May 28 when the latest leg-up began, selling in a wide price range of $27.42 to $62.67, according to InsiderScore’s analysis of regulatory filings. The stock price has more than doubled since that day, last trading at $57.70 apiece.

Six of them disclosed their sales on Friday after the market close, and one revealed at the end of May, according to InsiderScore.

“Clearly, AMC insiders don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to cash in some stock-based compensation at valuations that few people could have imagined just months ago,” said Ben Silverman, director of research at InsiderScore.

A total of nine insiders have sold this quarter, and three cashed out in the first quarter, according to InsiderScore. That compares to no sellers in all of 2020 and just three from 2017 to 2019, InsiderScore said.

Notably, CEO Adam Aron, who joined the company at the start of 2016, has never sold his AMC shares.

AMC has gained more than 120% in June alone after a 160% advance in May, pushing its 2021 rally to over 2,600%. The stock has far surpassed its January high amid the GameStop trading mania, hitting an intraday record of $72.62 last week.

Insiders are required to file their transactions in a company’s common stock as well as derivative securities with the Securities and Exchange Commission within two business days following the transaction date.

Amid the massive rally last week, AMC managed to quickly sell 20 million shares in two separate deals and generated around $800 million in cash. 

“Between those two transactions we raised over $800 million of cash, not to line my pocket or anybody who works at AMC, but to put that money in the treasury of AMC to strengthen AMC and let AMC do more good things, to grow the company,” Aron said in a YouTube video last week.

Aron has signaled he wants to sell up to 25 million more shares as the company is near the limit of the number of shares outstanding its charter allows. From January to May, AMC raked in about $1.6 billion in cash from stock sales.

The company has around 501 million shares outstanding and about 46,000 shares left for future issuance.

— CNBC’s Sarah Whitten contributed to this story.

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