PayPal Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Dan Schulman just did something “unusual” for a departing executive.
Often, executives and other insiders begin to trim their company stock exposure when they’re planning to slim back their duties, said VerityData research director Ben Silverman. But Schulman, who announced earlier this month that he plans to leave the CEO post at the end of 2023, just purchased nearly $2 million in PayPal stock
Schulman’s Feb. 17 purchase of just over 26,000 shares, disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that same day, “serves to drive home the idea that management believes it can execute its plan to expand earnings meaningfully this year despite modest top-line growth,” Silverman said in emailed comments to MarketWatch.
PayPal has seen a rough stretch in the past year or so, as the one-time pandemic darling has had to adjust to a more normalized growth trajectory for e-commerce spending as well as what some analysts see as a heightened competitive landscape. Shares of PayPal have slid 60% since the start of 2022, while the S&P 500
has lost about 14% over the same span.
Schulman bought about about $1 million worth of PayPal’s stock in February 2022, after the company posted a disappointing earnings report, “so it’s certainly a positive to see him come back with a much larger purchase,” said Silverman, who tracks activity like insider buying and company buybacks.
He added that Schulman hasn’t sold PayPal shares since December 2021 “and since then his equity exposure has not only increased due to his buying but also as the result of him retaining significant stock awards that vested over the past year.”
PayPal declined to comment on Schulman’s latest purchase of stock.
Schulman’s activity comes as PayPal insiders in general have been reluctant to sell the company’s stock. Insiders haven’t sold PayPal shares since September 2022, according to a VerityData report, marking a departure from past practices. Previously it had been rare for more than two months to pass without some sort of insider selling, and the report noted that there were at least three sellers in many quarters prior to this recent stretch.
The $2 million buy from Schulman “strengthens the undervalued message sent by insiders in recent months at the payment solutions provider,” VerityData analysts said in the report.
While Schulman intends to step down from his role of CEO at year end or at a time convenient to the company’s search process, he plans to continue serving on PayPal’s board of directors.