The blog is a work in progress, like a public journal/filing system. Most of the quarterly earnings are behind us, and it is heartening to see that insider buying has picked up a little. Could there be some value in a market that feels scoured over, like an 80% off sale at Neiman Marcus? There were even some large insider buys in marquis names. Could there be some gems here?  This is my first crack at most of them. The Earnings Blackout Curtain is Lifting.

You can be an insider, too– by clicking here


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Name: Lester B Knight
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2024-05-03 Shares Bought: 10,200 Average Price Paid: $276.61 Cost: $2,766,116
Company: Aon plc (AON)

Aon Plc was founded in 1919 and is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. Aon plc, a professional services corporation, offers a variety of risk and human capital solutions globally. It provides commercial risk solutions like retail brokerage, specialist solutions, global risk consultancy, captives management, and affinity programs, as well as health solutions including health and benefits brokerages and healthcare exchanges. The firm also offers treaty and facultative reinsurance, insurance-linked securities, capital raising, strategic advising, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate finance consultancy services. It also provides strategic design consulting services for retirement programs, actuarial services, and risk management services, as well as advice on developing and maintaining investment programs across various plan types, such as defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans, endowments, and foundations, for public and private companies and other institutions.  

Mr. Knight became Chairman of Aon’s Board of Directors in August 2008. He is a director of NorthShore University Health System and Junior Achievement of Chicago, a trustee at Northwestern University, and a member of The Commercial Club of Chicago’s Civic Committee. Mr. Knight is a founding partner of RoundTable Healthcare Partners and a former Vice Chairman and Director at Cardinal Health, Inc., a diversified healthcare services firm. Mr. Knight was Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Allegiance Corporation from 1996 to February 1999. Before that, he worked for Baxter International, Inc. from 1981 to 1996, serving as Corporate Vice President from 1990, Executive Vice President from 1992, and Director since 1995. He earned an undergraduate degree and an MBA from Cornell University.

Opinion: Chairman of the Board Lester Knight has a mixed record of success in recent timing. Perhaps he is being lulled into complacency since his ~$15 million purchase of AON stock in 2020 doubled in price. Recent transactions have not fared well, but I wouldn’t bet against an insider as well-informed as Lester. The recent earnings disappointment caused the stock to drop $30 from peak to trough, creating a trading range opportunity. It’s already recovered 6% since Knight’s purchase so caution is warranted.


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Name: James P Gorman
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2024-05-08 Shares Bought: 20,000 Average Price Paid: $106.03 Cost: $2,120,628
Company: Walt Disney Co (DIS)

The Walt Disney Company was formed in 1923 and is headquartered in Burbank, California. The corporation acts as a global entertainment organization. It operates in three segments: entertainment, sports, and experiences. The company produces and distributes film and television video streaming content under the ABC Television Network, Disney, Freeform, FX, Fox, National Geographic, and Star brand television channels, as well as ABC television stations and A+E television networks; and produces original content under the ABC Signature, Disney Branded Television, FX Productions, Lucasfilm, Marvel, National Geographic Studios, Pixar, Searchlight Pictures, Twentieth Century Studios, and 20th Television It also provides direct-to-consumer streaming services through Disney+, Disney+ Hotstar, Hulu, and Star+; sports-related entertainment services through ESPN, ESPN on ABC, ESPN+ DTC, and Star; sale/licensing of film and episodic content to third-party television and VOD services; theatrical, home entertainment, and music distribution services; DVD and Blu-ray discs, electronic home video licenses, and VOD rental services; and staging and licensing of live entertainment events.

James P. Gorman is the Executive Chairman of Morgan Stanley. Mr. Gorman formerly served as Morgan Stanley’s CEO from 2010 to 2023 and Chairman from 2012 to 2023. He joined the firm in February 2006 and was appointed Co-President in December 2007. Before joining Morgan Stanley, Mr. Gorman worked as an executive at Merrill Lynch and as a senior partner at McKinsey & Company. He is a Director of the Council on Foreign Relations, Chair of the Board of Overseers at Columbia Business School, and a member of the Business Council. He formerly served as a Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, President of the Federal Advisory Council to the United States Federal Reserve Board, and Co-Chairman of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Business Committee. Mr. Gorman has been a director of the company since 2024.

Opinion: The market is never moved by insider purchases in giant cap names, but it is a significant purchase by a prominent stock market participant, so there is more than money on the line.  You have to think Gorman’s reputation is somewhat in play here but as his wealth is reported to be $4.7 billion, this is a rather paltry commitment at best.  It expresses a lot of confidence in Bob Igor’s recreation of Disney. It will take more than confidence to turn around this entertainment behemoth. It’s hard to have growth and cost-cutting simultaneously but that’s what Disney needs.


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Name: Gerald Laderman
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2024-05-10 Shares Bought: 5,000 Average Price Paid: $61.01 Cost: $305,050
Company: KEMPER Corp (KMPR)

Kemper Corporation was established in 1990 and is based in Chicago, Illinois. Kemper Corporation, a diversified insurance holding company, provides insurance products to individuals and businesses in the United States. The company works in three segments: Specialty Property & Casualty Insurance, Preferred Property & Casualty Insurance, and Life & Health Insurance. It offers preferred and specialty auto, homes, renters, fire, umbrella, general liability, and other property and casualty insurance to people, as well as commercial auto insurance to businesses. The company also provides individuals in rural, suburban, and urban areas with life insurance, including permanent and term insurance, as well as supplemental accident and health insurance products such as Medicare supplement insurance, fixed hospital indemnity, home health care, specified disease, and accident-only plans. It sells its products via independent agents and brokers.

Mr. Laderman was elected Chairman of Kemper Corporation’s Board of Directors, effective May 1, 2024. He is Executive Vice President of Finance at United Airlines and has extensive commercial and executive management expertise. From 2018 to September 2023, Mr. Laderman served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of United Airlines. Mr. Laderman’s experience in accounting, financial reporting, and commercial management is very beneficial to the Kemper Board. He also contributes valuable insight and experience in capital and operating budget planning, cost management, capital allocation, public company operations, and other critical corporate tasks, such as enterprise risk management. Mr. Laderman is the treasurer and a member of the Board of Directors of ISTAT, a non-profit organization that serves aviation professionals.

Opinion: I can’t read much into a quid pro stock purchase from the newly elected Chairman of the Board.

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Name: Ali John Mirshekari
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2024-05-02 Shares Bought: 268,310 Average Price Paid: $39.64 Cost: $10,636,267
Company: Sensata Technologies Holding plc (ST)

Sensata Technologies Holdings plc was formed in 1916 and is based in Attleboro, Massachusetts. Sensata Technologies Holding plc is a public limited corporation registered in England and Wales. They are a worldwide industrial technology firm committed to assisting customers and partners in delivering a cleaner, more efficient, electrified, and connected world. For almost a century, the company has been developing and innovating a wide range of bespoke solutions to meet their clients’ increasingly demanding technical and operational performance requirements for mission-critical applications. The company provides financial data for two reportable segments: Performance Sensing and Sensing Solutions. The company designs, manufactures, and distributes sensors and sensor-rich solutions, as well as electrical protection components and systems. The customers employ sensors to convert a physical parameter, such as pressure, temperature, position, or location of an object, into electronic signals that their products and solutions can use. 

John Mirshekari has been a member of Sensata’s Board of Directors since March 1, 2024, and is active on both the Growth & Innovation and Finance Committees. With over two decades of experience in finance, investing, and strategic execution, Mr. Mirshekari offers substantial knowledge to the boardroom. He is the owner and manager of M Partners Capital LLC, a private investment company founded in 2023. Before starting M Partners, Mr. Mirshekari worked as a Portfolio Manager in Fidelity Investments’ Equity business from 2010 to 2022, co-managing numerous funds, including the Fidelity Value Fund and the Fidelity Low-Priced Stock Fund.

Opinion: You rarely see insiders buy after an 18% stock bounce. Even though it’s largely other people’s money, Mr. Mirsheari is a pro, so pay attention here.  According to Fly on the Wall, Stifel raised the firm’s price target on Sensata to $43 from $36 and kept a Hold rating on the shares. Q1 results and Q2 guidance were both modestly ahead of Street, though the “major news” was that CEO Jeff Cote is leaving and that investor Elliott Investment Management has taken a board seat, the analyst tells investors. The firm, which says it is “not surprised by changes,” adds that it will be interesting to see what changes may be in store under a new CEO, given the choppy sales and earnings performance at the company in the last two years.

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Name: Frank Tobias Baur
Position: EVP of Operational Excellence
Transaction Date: 2024-05-07 Shares Bought: 4,200 Average Price Paid: $39.46 Cost: $165,732
Company: Diebold Nixdorf Inc (DBD)

Diebold Nixdorf, Inc. was founded in 1859 and is headquartered in North Canton, Ohio. Diebold Nixdorf, Incorporated automates, digitizes, and transforms how people bank and shop around the world. The company provides cash recyclers and dispensers, intelligent deposit terminals, teller automation tools, and kiosk technologies, as well as physical security solutions; front-end applications for consumer connection points; and back-end platforms that manage channel transactions, operations, and integration, as well as facilitate omnichannel transactions, endpoint monitoring, remote asset management, customer marketing, merchandise management, and analytics. It also offers banking product-related services such as proactive monitoring and rapid incident resolution via remote service capabilities or on-site visits; first- and second-line maintenance, preventive maintenance, and on-demand services; managed and outsourcing services, such as business processes, solution management, upgrades, and transaction processing; and cash management services.

Frank T. Baur joined Diebold Nixdorf Inc. in January 2024. Baur is currently the executive vice president of Diebold Nixdorf’s operational excellence division. He is responsible for promoting long-term quality and process improvement in the supply chain, sourcing, manufacturing, and service sectors. Before joining Diebold Nixdorf in 2024, Baur was senior executive director at GE Vernova, where he oversaw the company’s Onshore Wind division. Baur enhanced cost productivity, on-time delivery, inventory reduction, and product quality by implementing lean principles throughout operations. He was previously vice president of the EMEA supply chain for Parker Hannifin Corp., where he oversaw the whole supply chain and procurement process.  He is on the global supply chain management advisory board at Wayne State University in Detroit. He received his business administration degree from Germany’s University of Cooperative Education. Baur’s family lives in Switzerland.

Opinion: Cash is trash, well, not really, but handling the currency with armored trucks and bank kiosks hardly inspires growth stock investors. 

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Name: Michael E Pegram
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2024-05-03 Shares Bought: 40,000 Average Price Paid: $36.39 Cost: $1,455,734
Company: Caesars Entertainment Inc. (CZR)

Caesars Entertainment Inc. was founded in 1973 by the Carano family, who opened the Eldorado Hotel Casino in Reno, Nevada. Since 2005, the company has grown through acquisitions, including Tropicana Entertainment, Inc. in 2018, Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. in 2017, and MTR Gaming Group, Inc. in 2014. The acquisition of William Hill PLC was completed on April 22, 2021. To attract customers, the company employs hotels, restaurants, bars, entertainment, horse racing, retail stores, and other activities. The company’s consolidated business consists of complementary businesses that reinforce, cross-promote, and build on one another: casino, which includes retail and online sports betting and iGaming, food and beverage, hotel, casino management services, entertainment, retail, and other business operations.

Michael E. Pegram served on the board of directors for Eldorado Resorts, Inc. from September 2014 until July 2020. He was named to Caesars Entertainment’s board of directors at the time as part of the merger deal with Eldorado Resorts, Inc. Mr. Pegram has been a partner in Carson City’s Bodines Casino since January 2007, and the Carson Valley Inn in Minden, Nevada, since June 2009. Mr. Pegram has over 30 years of experience owning and operating 25 McDonald’s restaurants. Mr. Pegram has been a director of Skagit State Bancorp since April 1997. Mr. Pegram was chosen as a director owing to his deep knowledge of the horse racing industry and expertise as an investor, business owner, and director of several organizations.


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Name: Darryl Rawlings
Position: Chief Executive Officer
Transaction Date: 2024-05-07 Shares Bought: 20,700 Average Price Paid: $24.14 Cost: $499,663
Company: Trupanion Inc. (TRUP)

Trupanion, Inc. was founded in 2000 and is based in Seattle, WA. The company was previously known as Vetinsurance International, Inc., but changed its name to Trupanion, Inc. in 2013. The company’s purpose is to assist loving, responsible pet owners in budgeting and caring for their dogs. The company offers medical insurance to cats and dogs in the United States, Canada, Continental Europe, and Australia. They develop and deliver high-value medical insurance packages using a data-driven, vertically integrated strategy, with prices tailored to each pet’s individual traits and coverage level. They have two business segments: subscription business and other business. The company operates its subscription business segment similarly to other subscription-based businesses, with an emphasis on achieving a target profit before incurring pet acquisition costs and acquiring as many pets as feasible at the desired average anticipated internal rate of return. 

Darryl Rawlings, an entrepreneur and business leader, founded Trupanion (formerly Vetinsurance International, Inc.) in 1998 with the goal of offering high-quality medical insurance for cats and dogs. Over the years, he has led seven different companies. He is currently the Chairman of Naked Wines Plc, Chief Executive Officer & Director of Trupanion, Inc., Chief Executive Officer of Trupanion Managers USA, Inc., Chief Executive Officer & Director of Canada Pet Health Insurance Services, Inc., and Chief Executive Officer of American Pet Insurance Company. He formerly worked as Director of Sales and Marketing for Telos Corp. and Cycomm International, Inc., as well as President and CEO of Vetinsurance International, Inc.

Opinion: Trupanion was always a good idea but with many companies now offering pet insurance it’s hard to say what makes this a good idea, now.

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Name: Andrew Kenner
Position: SVP, Olefin Material & Corp Pr
Transaction Date: 2024-05-08 Shares Bought: 10,000 Average Price Paid: $22.10 Cost: $221,000
Company: Westlake Chemical Partners LP (WLKP)

Westlake is a global diversified industrial company that develops and sells key items that improve people’s lives all around the world. Westlake Chemical Partners LP was established in March 2014 as a Delaware-limited partnership to run, acquire, and develop ethylene-producing plants and related assets. The company’s products, under the {One Westlake~ brand, provide building blocks for everyday items in housing, infrastructure, packaging, healthcare, automobiles, and consumer goods. Westlake’s materials are used in food packaging, medical equipment, soaps and detergents, automotive interiors, fashion, toys, shoes, furniture, electronics, siding, stone veneer, windows, outdoor living, roofing, and pipe and fittings, which benefit consumers. Westlake is delighted to contribute to a sustainable future by creating essential goods that improve your life every day.

Mr. Kenner, a member of the company’s senior executive team since July 2008, will be in charge of all chemical manufacturing, engineering, and project management activities. Mr. Kenner has over 20 years of engineering, operations, and manufacturing experience, most recently serving as Vice President and General Manager of Valero Energy Corporation’s Delaware City Refinery. He has run similar enterprises in Houston and Texas City, Texas. Mr. Kenner received a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

Opinion: The U.S. has a huge embedded competitive advantage in the chemicals industry with so many products needing cheap, reliable hydrocarbons but there are many ways, many better ways to play this ethylene theme. 

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Name: Joseph J Jr Tabacco
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2024-05-08 Shares Bought: 12,400 Average Price Paid: $16.01 Cost: $198,524
Company: Beyond Inc. (BYON)

Beyond, Inc. was founded in 1997 and is based in Midvale, Utah. Beyond, Inc. is an online retailer of furniture and home goods products in the United States and Canada. Bed Bath & Beyond’s product line includes furniture, bedding and bath, patio and outdoor gear, area rugs, tables and cookware, décor, storage and organization, small appliances, home improvement, and other items. The company sells its products and services through its e-commerce platform, which is accessible via its mobile app and includes,, and It also provides businesses with the opportunity to advertise their products or services on its website; Marketplace, a service that allows its partners to sell their products through third-party sites; product sales to international customers via third-party logistics providers; and Supplier Oasis, a single integration point that allows partners to manage their products, inventory, and sales channels, as well as access multi-channel fulfillment services through its distribution network.

Joseph J. Tabacco has worked as an Independent Director for Beyond, Inc. since 2007. Mr. Tabacco has also served as a Senior Trial Attorney in the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice and as a Managing Partner at Berman Tabacco.  He serves on the remuneration committee and chairs the nominating and corporate governance committee. Mr. Tabacco is a founding partner of Berman Tabacco’s San Francisco office, which prosecutes class actions across the country on behalf of institutions and people, the majority of whom are victims of antitrust and securities breaches. Mr. Tabacco attended George Washington University Law School and graduated in 1974.

Opinion: Beyond is the rebranded version of bankrupt retailer Bed Bath and Beyond, purchased by perennial second-place retailer I’m as confused by the strategy as you are, so I’d stay clear.

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Name: Thomas D Eckert
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2024-05-09 Shares Bought: 30,000 Average Price Paid: $15.79 Cost: $473,598
Company: Park Hotels & Resorts Inc. (PK)

Park was founded as an independent firm on January 3, 2017, after being spun off from Hilton. Park bought Chesapeake Lodging Trust on September 18, 2019, adding premium-branded hotels and resorts in prominent areas including San Francisco, Boston, Miami, and Los Angeles. Park Hotels & Resorts Inc. is one of the largest publicly traded lodging real estate investment trusts, consisting of a geographically diverse portfolio of hotels and resorts with substantial underlying property value. The company portfolio includes 43 premium-branded hotels and resorts with more than 26,000 rooms in major U.S. markets with significant entry barriers. Over 86% of the portfolio is luxury or upper upscale, with 100% of it located in the United States, including 13 of the top 25 markets. Almost 80% of the property is concentrated in the central business districts of major cities, resorts, and conference locations. 

In 2019, Thomas D. Eckert became an Independent Director at Park Hotels & Resorts, Inc. and a Trustee-Emeritus at The University of Virginia Foundation. In his former roles, Mr. Eckert served as Chairman of Munder Funds, Inc. from 2006 to 2014. He was a Director at Victory Funds from 2014 to 2015 and at Fieldstone Investment Corp. from 2003 to 2007. He also served as a Director at Gramercy Property Trust, Inc. in 2015, DuPont Fabros Technology, Inc. from 2007 to 2017, and the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, Inc. from 2004 to 2007. Additionally, he held the position of President-Mid-Atlantic Region at PulteGroup, Inc. from 1983 to 1997 and President-Mid Atlantic Region at Pulte Home Co. LLC from 1983 to 1997. He was an Independent Trustee at Chesapeake Lodging Trust from 2010 to 2019 and an Independent Trustee at Gramercy Property Trust from 2015 to 2018. Eckert obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 1970.

Opinion: Hotels are having a great year after coming back from the near dead Covid experience. I don’t know how long this can last as the money market-fueled baby boomers splurge on the spend it before I die mentality.

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Name: Douglas A Pertz
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2024-05-03 Shares Bought: 110,000 Average Price Paid: $10.02 Cost: $1,102,079
Company: Vestis Corp (VSTS)

Name: James Phillip Holloman
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2024-05-08 Shares Bought: 20,400 Average Price Paid: $10.57 Cost: $215,573
Transaction Date: 2024-05-03 Shares Bought: 20,200 Average Price Paid: $9.93 Cost: $200,548
Company: Vestis Corp (VSTS)

Name: Tracy C Jokinen
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2024-05-10 Shares Bought: 8,395 Average Price Paid: $11.69 Cost: $98,110
Company: Vestis Corp (VSTS)

Name: Timothy R Donovan
Position: EVP, CLO and General Counsel
Transaction Date: 2024-05-10 Shares Bought: 12,975 Average Price Paid: $11.57 Cost: $150,079
Company: Vestis Corp (VSTS)

Vestis Corporation was founded in 1936 and is based in Roswell, Georgia. Vestis Corporation offers uniform rentals and workplace supplies in the United States and Canada. Its products include uniform options such as shirts, pants, outerwear, gowns, scrubs, high visibility garments, particulate-free garments, and flame-resistant garments, as well as shoes and accessories; and workplace supplies such as managed restroom supply services, first-aid supplies and safety products, floor mats, towels, and linens. The company services the following industries: manufacturing, hospitality, retail, food processing, food service, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, automotive, and cleanrooms. 

Douglas Allen Pertz serves as the President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director of Recall Corp. He is also the Vice Chairman of Vestis Corporation. Douglas A. Pertz joined Vestis Corp’s board of directors in January 2023. From June 2016 to May 2022, Mr. Pertz was also The Brink’s Company’s president, CEO, and board member. Before joining Brink’s, he was president and CEO of Recall Holdings, leading the company from its IPO in 2013 to its strategic sale in 2016. He has previously served as the CEO of many public firms, including IMC Global and Culligan Water Technologies. Mr. Pertz is currently on the board of directors for Advance Auto Parts and Vital Records Control. Mr. Pertz is highly equipped to serve on the Vestis Board of Directors because of his operational expertise in branch and route-based logistics, business-to-business services, channel and brand marketing, and development through acquisition. 

Mr. Holloman retired from Cintas as president and COO in 2018. During his 22-year career with Cintas, he held several positions, including rental division president and chief operating officer, senior vice president of global supply chain management, executive champion of Six Sigma initiatives, vice president of distribution/production planning, and vice president of engineering and construction. Mr. Holloman is a founding member of Cintas’ diversity committee and has received the company’s highest honor, the Excalibur Award, which is given to corporate executives who achieve during their stay. He currently serves on the boards of Pulte Group and the BlackRock Fixed Income Board, having previously served on the boards of Rockwell Automation. Mr. Holloman also serves on the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio’s board of directors and the University of Cincinnati’s board of trustees. Mr. Holloman is ideally equipped to serve on Vestis’ Board of Directors due to his vast industry and senior management experience, as well as his thorough understanding of corporate strategy and operations.

Ms. Jokinen has over 30 years of finance and accounting experience in a variety of global industries, with an emphasis on accelerating profitable growth and company transformation as chief financial officer for both public and private organizations. Ms. Jokinen most recently served as executive vice president and chief financial officer at Vyaire Medical, a medical device firm, from March 2020 to January 2022. She formerly served as Acelity’s executive vice president and chief financial officer from June 2017 until its acquisition by 3M in October 2019. She previously served as the CFO of G&K Services, a publicly traded uniform services firm, from 2014 until it was acquired by Cintas in 2017. Ms. Jokinen now serves on the boards of directors for Alamo Group, Array Technologies, and Candela Corp. Ms. Jokinen is highly equipped to serve on Vestis’ Board of Directors due to her background in the uniform service industry, as well as her financial and board-level experience with publicly traded firms.

Mr. Donovan joined Aramark Uniform Services in January 2022 and currently works as Vestis’ Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and General Counsel. Mr. Donovan has more than 40 years of experience in legal and operational leadership, including 20 years as general counsel for a publicly traded business. Mr. Donovan previously worked as General Counsel and in a variety of compliance and risk management roles for Caesars Entertainment Corporation, the world’s largest casino and integrated resort operator, where he held positions such as Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Regulatory & Compliance Officer, and Chief Legal, Risk, and Security Officer before retiring. Before joining Caesars, Mr. Donovan worked as Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary at Allied Waste Industries, Inc., and then at Republic Services, Inc. following its merger with the former in 2008.   Mr. Donovan earned a BS in Business Administration from The Ohio State University and a JD from Capital University Law School.

Opinion: Insiders are all over this market sell-off, scooping up bargain-basement shares of Vestis. The party might be over, as the stock has rebounded 15% since falling 41% on disastrous Q2 earnings and forecast.

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Name: Michael Freno
Position: Officer of Adviser
Transaction Date: 2024-05-09 Shares Bought: 27,500 Average Price Paid: $9.73 Cost: $267,493
Company: Barings BDC Inc. (BBDC)

Barings BDC, Inc. is a Maryland corporation established on October 10, 2006. Barings BDC, Inc. is a publicly traded, externally managed investment company that has chosen to be classified as a business development company under the Investment Company Act of 1940. The company aims to invest primarily in senior secured loans, first lien debt, unitranche, second lien debt, subordinated debt, equity co-investments, and senior secured private debt investments in private middle-market companies operating in a variety of industries. The company focuses on the mezzanine, leveraged buyouts, management buyouts, ESOPs, change of control transactions, acquisition financings, growth financings, and recapitalizations for lower middle market, mature, and later-stage companies. It invests in manufacturing and distribution, business services and technology, transportation and logistics, and consumer goods and services.

Michael Freno has been the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Barings LLC since 2020. From 2018 to 2021, he served as a Director of Barings BDC, Inc. and Barings Capital Investment Corp. He has also worked as a Research Analyst at Mangan & McColl Partners LLC in 2004 and as a Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC. Mr. Freno has an MBA from Wake Forest University and an undergraduate degree from Furman.

Opinion: Not my cup of tea.

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Name: Paul L Whiting
Position: Director
Transaction Date: 2024-05-06 Shares Bought: 50,000 Average Price Paid: $8.35 Cost: $417,500
Company: Heritage Insurance Holdings Inc. (HRTG)

Heritage Insurance Holdings, Inc. is a super-regional property and casualty insurance holding company that specializes in personal and commercial home insurance through its insurance business subsidiaries. The company vertically integrated, controlling or managing nearly every part of insurance underwriting, customer service, actuarial analysis, distribution, and claims processing and adjusting. The company is led by a highly skilled and diversified management team with extensive knowledge of the residential property insurance sector and strong industry ties. The core offerings include personal and commercial residential property insurance. On an admitted basis, the company offers personal home insurance in fourteen eastern and Gulf states, as well as commercial residential insurance in three of them. In addition, they provide personal home insurance on an admitted basis in Hawaii, as well as excess and surplus lines in California and Florida. 

Mr. Whiting has been a member of the Board since March 2023. Mr. Whiting formerly served on the boards of directors at Sykes Enterprises, Inc. from December 2003 to May 2019 and Teco Energy, Inc. from February 2004 to July 2016. Mr. Whiting has been President of Seabreeze Holdings, Inc., a privately held investment corporation, since 1997. Mr. Whiting formerly served as Chairman, CEO, and CFO of Spalding & Evenflo Companies, Inc. Mr. Whiting now serves on the boards of The Bank of Tampa and The Tampa Bay Banking Company. Mr. Whiting also serves on the boards of various civic groups, including the Academy Prep Foundation and Academy Prep Centres in Lakeland, St. Petersburg, and Tampa, Florida, which are full-scholarship, private college preparatory middle schools for low-income students.

Opinion: Vote of confidence after a 30% share price drop. Individual stocks can be incredibly volatile. The current vogue of ETF and index buying does a good job of shielding the inherent vulnerability of small-cap stocks.

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Name: Michael O Randolfi
Position: EVP and CFO
Transaction Date: 2024-05-03 Shares Bought: 50,000 Average Price Paid: $2.98 Cost: $148,750
Company: Sabre Corp (SABR)

Name: Shawn G Williams
Position: EVP and Chief People Officer
Transaction Date: 2024-05-08 Shares Bought: 10,000 Average Price Paid: $2.64 Cost: $26,449
Company: Sabre Corp (SABR)

Name: Ann J. Bruder
Position: EVP and Chief Legal Officer
Transaction Date: 2024-05-08 Shares Bought: 20,000 Average Price Paid: $2.63 Cost: $52,580
Company: Sabre Corp (SABR)

Name: Kurt Joseph Ekert
Position: CEO and President
Transaction Date: 2024-05-08 Shares Bought: 65,000 Average Price Paid: $2.57 Cost: $167,050
Company: Sabre Corp (SABR)

Sabre Corporation is a Delaware corporation established in December 2006. On March 30, 2007, Sabre Corporation purchased Sabre Holdings Corporation. At Sabre, make travel possible. The company’s mission is to be one of the most valuable worldwide technology partners in the tourism industry. They are devoted to assisting their customers in seizing the most significant possibilities and overcoming the most difficult obstacles in their industry. In the comprehensive travel marketplace, the company connects the world’s largest travel suppliers, such as airlines, hotels, car rental companies, rail carriers, cruise lines, and tour operators, with travel buyers. The company also provides travel suppliers with an extensive portfolio of premier software solutions, ranging from airline and hotel reservation systems to solutions for managing day-to-day hotel operations. They are devoted to using next-generation digital solutions to help customers run more efficiently, generate income, and provide individualized passenger experiences.

Mike Randolfi, Sabre Corporation’s Board of Directors appointed Executive Vice President on July 27, 2022, with effect from August 22, 2022. Mr. Randolfi has been Chief Financial Officer of BFA Industries, a beauty subscription company, since April 2021. From August 2019 to April 2021, he was the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Adtalem Global Education Inc., a workforce solutions provider. Before joining Adtalem, Mr. Randolfi was Groupon Inc.’s Chief Financial Officer from April 2016 to August 2019. Before joining Groupon, Mr. Randolfi was Chief Financial Officer at Orbitz Worldwide Inc. from March 2013 until November 2015. Before joining Orbitz, Mr. Randolfi worked for Delta Airlines for fourteen years in a range of executive financial capacities, including Senior Vice President and Controller. Mr. Randolfi earned a Master of Business Administration from Emory University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of South Florida.

Shawn Williams serves as Sabre’s executive vice president and chief people officer. He is in charge of developing and implementing Sabre’s worldwide human resources strategy, which supports the company’s ambitions to provide the travel industry with next-generation retailing, distribution, and fulfillment solutions. Shawn’s career extended beyond human resources and operations to numerous executive positions in the technology sector before joining Sabre in August 2020. Shawn most recently served as Chief Human Resources Officer for Scientific Games, a publicly traded global technology and gaming firm. During his tenure, he oversaw a C-suite restructure, the IPO of the company’s social gaming division, and global culture reforms, including a focus on inclusion and diversity. Shawn has a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Houston. He has also taken executive leadership courses at Stanford University and Babson College.

Ann J. Bruder has joined the company as Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, beginning May 1, 2023. Bruder, a seasoned legal executive, and travel industry veteran, will oversee all aspects of legal and compliance, including corporate governance, business transactions, commercial matters, litigation, and government affairs. Bruder joins Sabre from Avantax, previously Blucora, where she worked as Chief Legal, Development, and Administrative Officer for three years. She previously worked as Vice President and General Counsel of Airlines Reporting Corporation, or ARC, a prominent source of airline industry data, goods, and services, as well as President of Global Strategic Services, LLC, a boutique strategic advising firm. She holds degrees from the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law and the University of Wyoming. Bruder replaces Chadwick Ho, who left the firm in March.

Kurt Ekert is the president and CEO of Sabre, a leading technology platform for the travel and hotel industry. He was named CEO in April 2023 and now heads a global team of extremely outstanding colleagues. Kurt joined Sabre as president in January 2022, bringing with him 25 years of worldwide operations leadership and governance expertise in technology, travel, and tourism, as well as a track record of growth and turnaround success. Kurt previously served as President and CEO of CWT for five years, where he led a digital transformation and delivered tremendous growth, including $7 billion in new business wins. Kurt was EVP & Chief Commercial Officer of Travelport before joining CWT, where he oversaw the operational turnaround that culminated in the company’s successful IPO in 2014. Kurt has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, an MBA from the University of South Carolina, and has served in the United States Army.

Opinion: Once a giant in travel processing, I didn’t even know Sabre still existed until these buys popped up on my radar.

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Insiders sell the stock for many reasons, but they generally buy for just one – to make money. You’ve always heard the best information is inside information.  Everyone with any stock market experience pays close attention to what insiders are doing.  After all, who knows a business better than the people running it?  Officers, directors, and 10% owners are required to inform the public through a Form 4 Filing of any transaction, buy, sell, exercise, or any other within 48 hours of doing so. This info is available for free from the SEC’s Web site, Edgar, although we subscribe to SECForm4  as they provide a way to manage and make sense of the vast realms of data. I’ve tried a lot of vendors. SECForm4 is one of the smaller ones, but I like supporting Frank. He is not arrogant. He’s helpful and has great prices. He also trades on his own data, so I like people that eat what they kill.

The bar is different from selling because the natural state of management is to be a seller. This is because most companies provide significant amounts of management compensation packages as stock and options. Therefore, we analyze unusual patterns with selling, such as insiders selling 25 percent or more of their holdings or multiple insiders selling near 52-week lows. Another red flag is large planned sale programs that start without warning. Unfortunately, the public information disclosure requirements about these programs, referred to as Rule 10b5-1, are horrendously poor. Also, planned sales that pop up out of nowhere are basically sales and are seeking cover under this corporate welfare loophole. I also generally ignore 10 percent shareholders as they tend to be OPM (other people’s money) and perhaps not the smart money on which we are trying to read the tea leaves. I say generally because some 10% shareholders are great investors. Think Warren  Buffett and others

Of course, insiders can also be wrong about their Company’s prospects. Don’t let anyone fool you into believing they never make mistakes.  Do your own analysis. They can easily be wrong, and in many cases, maybe most cases, have no more idea what the future may hold than you or me. In short, you can lose money following them.  We have, and we curse aloud; what were they thinking!

We like Fly on the Wall for keeping up with what events might be happening, analysts’ comments, and whatever else could be moving the stock.  Dow Jones news service is an essential tool, but many services pick up their feed like they do Bloomberg. For quick financial analysis, it’s hard to beat Old School Value.

A big callout to my assistant Ambreen who sets up this conversation by listing the notable buys that I’ve identified.  She probes the 10k for a reasonable description of the business. I’ve found that to be the most accurate and succinct place to find out what a business actually does.

This blog is solely for educational purposes and the author’s own amusement.  Think of the blog as part of my personal investment journal that I am willing to share with the DIY investor.  There are also many parts that I am not willing to share if I think it could influence trading action or be detrimental to the Fund’s partners. We could be long, short, or have no position at all in any of the stocks mentioned and express no written or implied obligation to disclose any of that.

The Insiders Fund is for qualified investors and by Prospectus only. Nothing herein should be construed otherwise.  THE INSIDERS FUND prefers to invest in companies at or near prices that management has been willing to invest significant amounts of their own money in, but we have no requirement to do so. We also invest in many companies in anticipation of future insider buying or with the expectation that there is none at all.

You can be an insider, too– by clicking here

Prosperous Trading,

Harvey Sax
Insomniac Hedge Fund Guy