Cisco Insiders on Selling Spree

Shares approach a new high despite stock sales by top execs.
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Cisco's (CSCO) - Get Report No. 2 exec knows the value of exercise.

Charlie Giancarlo, operating chief at the San Jose, Calif., networking giant, pocketed $3.9 million earlier this month by exercising some stock options and selling the shares.

A federal filing Tuesday shows Giancarlo bought 360,000 shares underlying options that were set to expire next month for $16.25 apiece, or $5.8 million. He promptly sold the stock for $27.10 a share, or $9.75 million.

Those keeping score at home will note Giancarlo took home a cool $3.9 million on the transaction.

Cisco's top execs are no strangers to stock sales. But Giancarlo's latest move stands out because it isn't part of a so-called 10b5-1 plan. Those arrangements allow execs to sell shares as part of a predetermined schedule to avoid any questions about access to nonpublic information.

CEO John Chambers, for instance,

raked in $19.2 million in February in the latest installment of his prearranged selling program. Since Chambers enrolled in the 10b5-1 plan back in August 2004, he has netted $145.3 million on the sale of 11.9 million shares of Cisco stock.

Cisco execs are far from alone in their cash-out push. A

Stockpickr portfolio shows that other frequent insider sellers include


(MSFT) - Get Report



(DLB) - Get Report



(CE) - Get Report


Giancarlo now holds 109,181 Cisco shares directly and 664,330 in a family trust. The holdings are worth $21 million at recent prices.

Cisco executives enjoy a favorable selling climate, as the company's shares have risen 32% in the past year. Critics say execs also benefit from the company's massive share buyback program, which some charge helps pump Cisco's profits

back into employees' pockets.

Chambers, for his part, has made about $144,577 a day on stock sales since he started his selling program.