Netscape’s Andreessen, Others To Sell Portion of Stock
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Several founders of Netscape Communications Corp., the popular Internet software maker, have told regulators they intend to sell millions of dollars worth of stock.
Netscape cofounder Marc Andreessen, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month, announced his intention to sell 100,000 shares of common stock worth $14 million, according to CDA-Investnet, which maintains a database of the SEC filings.
It couldn’t be immediately determined from SEC records if Andreessen had sold the shares. Netscape spokeswoman Rosanne Siino said she didn’t know if the shares actually had been sold.
Analysts said that rather than a hint of bad times at the company, the executives are simply trying to collect some of their millions in paper profits.
The company’s software has become the most popular way to use the World Wide Web portion of the Internet, the global public data network. The company stunned Wall Street last August with an enormously popular initial public stock offering that gave Netscape a market value of about $3 billion.
Netscape managers have been prevented by federal securities laws from trading their holdings until Feb. 5, and then the company suggested managers sell only between 10 percent to 15 percent of their vested stock, said Siino. During that period, Netscape’s stock has gone on a wild ride, from a high of $174 _ before splitting 2-for-1 _ to $51 a share, down 50 cents, Thursday on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
Gary Arlen of the Bethesda, Md.-based Arlen Communications Inc. said the selling by Netscape managers is ``somewhat typical″ after a lockout from an initial public offering.
``The founders, especially some of the young founders, want to get some of the money and go to play,″ Arlen said. The selling isn’t a signal of problems at Netscape, but analysts are reevaulating the company’s stock in light of the rapidly changing Internet market.
Also announcing his intention to sell was Netscape’s chief financial officer, Peter Currie, 37,500 shares; and vice president Michael Homer, 45,000 shares, according to Federal Filings Inc., which also tracks the SEC data. Andreessen’s planned sales technically were through two trusts which hold his stock.
Last October, Netscape allowed non-manager employees to trade their holdings but recommended a 10 percent to 15 percent limit. All Netscape employees will be prevented from trading beginning Friday, which is the beginning of the last month of its quarter. No trading will be allowed again until the company reports quarterly results in mid-April, Siino said.
Overall, the company has 38.2 million shares at the time of the August offering, and the stock split 2-for-1 in late January.