Massive Carl Icahn Takeover Trade Highlights Insider Buying: Federal Mogul, Alliance Data, Intrexon, Arconic, Heron Therapeutics and More

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In a week that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average finally scale the 20,000 level, the markets posted some of the best results in a while. The completion of the political campaign with the inauguration, combined with continued decent earnings, kept investors active. With earnings season starting to wind down, investors will have to look hard for reasons to keep the tired bull market rolling.

We cover insider buying each week at 24/7 Wall St., and we like to remind readers that while insider buying is usually a very positive sign, it is not in of itself a reason to run out and buy a stock. Sometimes insiders and 10% owners have stock purchase plans set up at intervals to add to their holdings. That aside, it still remains an overall positive indicator.

Here are some of the companies that reported notable insider buying last week.

Legendary Wall Street investor Carl Icahn finally has total control of Federal Mogul Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: FDML), a leading global supplier of products and services to the world’s manufacturers and servicers of vehicles and equipment. Icahn finished purchasing all the company’s stock by buying 16,766,401 shares at $10 apiece. The total for the trade was posted at a staggering $167,664,010. As a result of the completion of the merger, the common stock of Federal-Mogul will no longer be listed for trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market or any other exchange.

Alliance Data Systems Corp. (NYSE: ADS) also had a high-profile 10% owner buying shares last week. Hedge fund ValueAct Holdings scooped up 210,100 shares of the marketing and loyalty solutions provider in two trades last week, at prices posted at $225.89 and $228.92. The total purchase price for the stock was $47,975,852. But shares closed last Friday at $222.35. Their 52-week trading range is $176.63 to $241.69. The Wall Street consensus price target is $254.84.

Randall Kirk, who is the board chair and the chief executive officer of Intrexon Corp. (NYSE: XON), bought a total of 2,421,073 shares of its stock. At $10.33 per share, the total for the trade was $25,009,684 (the share price may suggest that it was an option or compensation-related trade). This purchase is a positive sign for shareholders as the shares of the synthetic biology company have tumbled from the high $60s in 2015 and this could be a bottom. The shares closed Friday at $21.60, in a 52-week range of $20.70 to $40.24. The consensus price target is $44.14.

UPDATE: Per a spokesperson from Intrexon, “[T]he ~2.4 million shares at $10.33 is related to Intrexon Corporation’s investment in AquaBounty Technologies (NASDAQ: AQB).”

Elliott International, a 10% owner of Arconic Inc. (NYSE: ARNC) bought 800,000 shares of its stock at prices between $21.22 and $21.91. The total for the buy of this maker of engineered products for aerospace, energy and other markets was posted at $17 million. The buys appear to be well-timed as shares closed last Friday at $22.60. Their 52-week trading range is $15.34 to $25.86, and the consensus price target is $23.20.

Heron Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: HRTX) had a director at the biotech company purchasing shares last week. Kevin Tang bought a total of 2,459,016 shares at $12.20 apiece. The total for the buy was posted at $29,999,995. This is another positive trade for shareholders, as Tang made a huge purchase down at this level, which is right at the 52-week low. The stock closed Friday at $12.45. Share have changed hands at between $12.21 and $25.46 in the past year, and the consensus price target is a whopping $30.75.

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These companies also reported insider buying last week: Dell Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: DVMT), Legg Mason Inc. (NYSE: LM), Live Ventures Inc. (NASDAQ: LIVE), Medley Capital Corp. (NYSE: MCC) and Mirati Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: MTRX).

While volume has dried up from many of the buyers, it’s not surprising given that we are still in earnings season (insider selling is another matter). However, with the market toppy, it will be interesting to see if we see buying pick up in February. If we don’t, that could be a warning sign.