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Arena CEO Dumps Stock as Share Price, Investor Confidence Slide

By: Adam Feuerstein | 07/07/14 - 11:23 AM EDT

Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA) CEO Jack Lief sold just under 40% of his company stock holdings last week, according to an SEC filing Thursday. 

Lief sold 223,525 shares of Arena stock at an average price of $5.85 per share, which grossed him $1.3 million, according to the Form 4 filing. Lief's divestment of Arena shares was done under a pre-arranged 10b5-1 trading plan, the filing also noted.

We can debate whether insider selling under 10b5-1 plans is really "hands off" or not (I tend to be a skeptic because these pre-arranged trading plans can be manipulated) but the optics of Lief's stock sale look bad given the significant under-performance of Arena's stock price amidst disappointing sales of the company's obesity pill Belviq. Lief dumping 40% of his Arena shares all at once when the stock is hitting new lows isn't exactly confidence inspiring. 

Arena shares are down 8.5% to $5.34 in Monday trading. 

On a related note, I guess we can now put to rest any hope that Eisai is planning to acquire Arena. Lief wouldn't be selling if there was any truth to the takeover conjecture floated in May. 

With today's sell-off, Arena's stock performance year to date looks even worse:

ARNA Chart
ARNA data by YCharts

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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