By Alysha Khan
As Potbelly Corp.’s stock fell throughout 2014, company insiders at the Chicago-based restaurant chain were selling the stock.
Potbelly went public October 4, 2013 at an initial offering price of $14. The stock peaked at $32.40 two days later. It closed Monday at $13.95.
At the beginning of 2014, former CEO Bryant Keil owned more than 1 million shares of Potbelly stock. The chain began as a lunch counter at an antique store on Lincoln Avenue. In 1996, Keil purchased the original location and expanded the neighborhood haunt into a nationwide chain with more than 280 locations. He served as CEO till 2008 and chairman till 2011. He now sits on the Potbelly board of directors.
In the middle of May, Keil launched a selling spree, unloading stock at prices ranging from an average of $16.10 to $11.98. By January 2015, he owned approximately 520,000 shares of the stock, about half of what he began the year with.
In May, John Morlock, chief operating office, also began to pare down his interest in Potbelly by exercising options acquired before Potbelly’s initial public offering. By January 2015, Morlock exercised and sold 70,000 shares of stock for a profit of approximately $369,380.
In November, Matthew Revord, chief legal officer, also exercised options acquired before Potbelly’s initial public offering and sold 5,000 shares of stock for a profit of approximately $30,000.
In December, Maveron Equity Partners 2000, L.P., a private equity entity which owns at least 10 percent of Potbelly’s stock, sold 1.5 million shares for approximately $15.60 per share, but still owns 4.3 million shares.
But some company insiders may be stuck with their Potbelly stock. In March 2014, five executives were awarded stock options worth $20.53. But by the end of the month, the stock sank below $20 and has yet to recover, making the options currently underwater.