Moderna CEO Dumps Some MRNA Stocks in Planned Sell-Off

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Feb. 14 2022, Published 12:17 p.m. ET

Rumors are swirling online that Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel sold hundreds of millions of dollars in stocks overnight. This isn’t completely true. Bancel unloaded about $3.6 million in MRNA stock in a planned sell-off.

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Here’s why Bancel is selling MRNA stock and whether the move is a product of insider trading. Also, find out whether MRNA is a safe bet amid the news.

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel disposes of 23,000 MRNA shares in a week.

moderna
Source: Moderna

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel

According to a Form 4 from the SEC, Bancel disposed of 13,000 shares of MRNA stock on Feb. 9 and another 10,000 shares on Feb. 10. The total 23,000 shares are worth an estimated $3.6 million.

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While some investors are critical of the move, it isn't related to insider trading.

The Moderna CEO’s stock sell-off was planned and dates back to 2018.

Bancel’s recent MRNA stock disposal is part of a sell-off plan that was adopted in December 2018—well before the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan was amended in May 2020 to better reflect the change in stock value as Moderna worked on its COVID-19 vaccine.

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Bancel still owns 5.7 million shares personally and another 9.05 million shares through Boston Biotech Ventures, LLC. Overall, Bancel’s remaining MRNA position is worth an estimated $3.5 billion. He only offloaded a small portion of his ownership equity, likely as a way to rebalance his portfolio for tax purposes.

Bancel’s MRNA stock sales have been sizable over time.

Since 2019, Bancel has sold $404.5 million worth of stocks, which has led to the rumors. Investors suggest that he dumped that much overnight and that it wasn't part of a long-term plan.

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However, that’s still a lot of stocks to drop even over the course of 3 years. Bancel has sold the stocks over 11 separate sale transactions.

What happened to Bancel’s Twitter account?

Amid news of the sell-off, investors want to know what happened to Bancel’s previously active Twitter account. The CEO was last seen on Twitter on Feb. 11 and then his account disappeared.

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Bancel hasn't discussed why he deleted his Twitter account. As a company, Moderna is in the final stages of negotiations to develop an mRNA manufacturing and research and development center in the U.K. Research is ongoing about long-term Moderna COVID-19 vaccine efficacy, including the impact of booster shots.

MRNA stock faces a hiccup amid CEO stock sale.

MRNA stock fell as much as 12.83 percent in pre-market trading on Feb. 14. This comes after a 39.93 percent YTD decline. MRNA stock gained significant attention through August 2021, but it has waned since then. The pandemic-era demand for the highly sought-after coronavirus vaccine reached market saturation.

The future of MRNA stock is likely volatile, but one thing is clear. Bancel didn't suddenly dump hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Moderna stock. The sell-off is part of a calculated plan that was put in place and amended no later than 2020.

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