Jefferies CEO Sells $65 Million in Stock for Luxury Yacht: Splurging or Signaling?

Rich Handler, the CEO of Jefferies, sold off $65 million of his company stock to splash out on a luxury yacht. He bought a Westport 164 yacht from his buddy and Jefferies client, Tilman Fertitta. On Wednesday, Handler said he’s not planning to sell any more stock.

So, what’s the big deal? Rich Handler treated himself by selling 1.5 million shares, which is about 7% of his total stash. He used the cash for his new yacht and to handle some tax stuff, according to Jefferies Press Release shared on Wednesday April 24, 2024.

Handler made it clear, “Selling these shares was a personal treat for me and my family, and I’m not planning to sell any more. I’m still super positive about Jefferies.”

Financial Times reported that this yacht, the Westport 164, wasn’t just any purchase—it came from Tilman Fertitta, who’s not only a client of Jefferies but also a long-time friend of Handler. Fertitta isn’t just anybody; he’s a billionaire, heads the hospitality giant Landry’s, and owns the Houston Rockets basketball team. Plus, he and Handler both have stakes in Lancadia Holdings, a special purpose acquisition company.

Handler’s been with Jefferies since 1990, and about 70% of his pay has come in the form of company shares. Usually, he only sells shares for taxes or to donate to charity.

When big bosses like Handler sell their shares, it can make people wonder if they’re losing faith in their company. So, these kinds of moves are always framed carefully.

For a bit of context, back in October, Jamie Dimon from JPMorgan Chase mentioned he’d sell 1 million of his 8.6 million shares, marking his first sale since he became CEO in 2006. He said in SEC filing that it was for “financial diversification and tax-planning purposes,” stressing he still believes strongly in the company’s future. He sold the first bunch in February, raking in $150 million.

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