Someone with a famous last name and a whole lot of pull inside of Ford (F) is sending a message to the market: The bull run in the automaker’s stock may just be beginning.
Rather under the radar this week, Bill Ford — great-grandson of Ford founder Henry Ford and its current executive chairman — opted to exercise nearly 2 million in stock options awarded to him as part of his executive pay package. Total cost: $20.5 million. A large portion of the options were reportedly set to expire soon, in other words they would be worthless.
The options were exercised at prices ranging from $6.19 to $15.37, according to a filing with the SEC.
“Rather than exercise the options and sell the shares immediately to realize the gains, he opted to exercise the options and buy the shares at the option price. In this case, he paid to acquire the shares and he also paid the associated taxes and fees rather than sell any shares to cover those costs,” a Ford spokesperson explained to Yahoo Finance.
The purchases by Ford come as insiders across corporate America dump stock into the year-end for various reasons, as Yahoo Finance Live discussed here.
Wall Street’s newfound bullishness on Ford’s stock reflects the ongoing operational turnaround at the company under CEO Jim Farley and Bill Ford’s push for greener automobiles. Solid third quarter earnings for Ford helped, too.
Ford’s third quarter adjusted earnings came in at 51 cents a share, trouncing analyst estimates for 27 cents. Net sales of $33.2 billion beat analyst projections by about $800 million despite the semiconductor shortage crimping production levels.
For the full year, Ford estimates adjusted profits of $10.5 billion to $11.5 billion. Previously, Ford expected earnings of $9 billion to $10 billion. The company also reinstated its dividend, which it had cut at the height of the pandemic in 2020.
Shares of Ford are up 131% year-to-date, running over Detroit-based rival GM’s pedestrian 42% gain.