Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Keeping Up With the Jones

Last we looked they were producing undrinkable Thanksgiving soda, now they're so successful they're under SEC scrutiny:

During an 85-day period this spring, five board members at Jones Soda Co. disposed of nearly all their shares of company stock -- a highly unusual move, securities experts say -- while CEO Peter van Stolk sold a fraction of his shares worth $2.53 million.

The sales, disclosed in securities filings, came during a wave of positive publicity that kept the stock price high at a time when board members and executives sold a total of 333,000 company shares for $6.5 million.

But after lousy first- and second-quarter earnings, shareholders have seen the stock price drop 67 percent since shares reached a record high of $32.60 on April 16.

....While most investors have taken a hit, board members who sold between mid-March and early June were not affected by the stock's precipitous decline this summer. After their sales, five of the six independent board members had no direct ownership of Jones Soda other than unexercised stock options, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

....The lack of ownership put Jones Soda in a small group of similarly valued businesses whose majority of directors owned no company shares.

On the Russell 2000, an index of 2,000 small and midcap companies, just 145 companies, including Jones Soda, had at least five directors with no ownership stake in their respective firms as of the end of July, according to research compiled by the Corporate Library.

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