Prospect Researching for Golden Opportunities


March 31st, 2011
If your prospect research team is looking to closeout this year's annual campaign on a high note, one of your best friends should be insider transaction filings. Many prospect research teams are constantly bombarded with research requests and are often only able to look into high potential individual donors on a quarterly or sometimes even just an annual basis. If your team is doing this, you may be missing out on some golden prospecting opportunities.

An important category of commonly undervalued prospects are senior executives that hold large amounts of stock options, but never hold significant blocks of their employers' stock. Many prospect researchers know of Larry Ellison and his $37 billion stake in Oracle Corp (ORCL), but a much smaller group are familiar with his secretive right hand Safra Catz. A quick look at Ms. Catz's stock holdings reveals that she only holds 11,336 shares or approximately $370 thousand in Oracle's stock.

  Prospect Profiles - Quick Facts

  Safra Catz
  President, Oracle Corp
     HSBC Group, Board of Directors
     Stanford Graduate School of Business, Lecturer
     University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, BA
     University of Pennsylvania Law School, JD
     Donor Watch's List of Top Women Executives
  Steven J. Sinofsky
  President, Microsoft’s Windows Division
     Co-Author of One Strategy: Organization, Planning, and    Decision Making
     Cornell University, BA
     Harvard Business School, MBA
  Kevin A. Plank
  CEO and Founder of Under Armour Inc
     University of Maryland, Board of Trustees
     National Football Foundation, Board of Trustees
     Living Classrooms, Board of Trustees
     Baltimore City Fire Foundation, Board of Directors
     University of Maryland, BS in Business
       University of Maryland, Football Team

Her holdings seem pretty paltry for someone who has been a President of one of the world's largest technology companies since the beginning of 2004, but what is being overlooked is the large number of options she has exercised throughout the years. Safra Catz frequently exercises large blocks of options and then quickly sells them on the open market. According to Donor Watch, Safra Catz has sold almost $177 million in stock since becoming Oracle's President. On one day last December, she exercised and sold 500,000 shares, raising more than $15.9 million!

Steven J. Sinofsky, who has been President of Microsoft Corporation's (MSFT) Windows Division since mid 2009, currently holds nearly $18.7 million in the technology giant's stock. By concentrating just on Mr. Sinofsky's stock holdings, one would overlook the $31.4 million in stock that he has sold since early 2010. Notably, the Cornell University and Harvard Business School graduate has already sold more than $12 million of MSFT's stock since the beginning of 2011.

Another prime example is Kevin A. Plank, the CEO and founder of Under Armour Inc (UA). On any given day since 2006, if you had looked into Mr. Plank's holdings in his $3.3 billion sports clothing empire, you would have been surprised to see that he held a measly 100 shares of Under Armour or approximately $65 thousand worth of stock, according to yesterday's closing price. When you factor in his salary of $26,000 a year, you may wrongfully come to the conclusion that he is hardly worth a phone call.

If you took deeper look into Kevin Plank's filings, you would discover that the 37 year old CEO owns 12,187,600 shares of UA Class B stock, which is not publicly-traded. Through a series of transactions since late 2005, Mr. Plank has converted his Class B stock to common stock and then on the same day immediately sold those shares on the open market, effectively raising nearly $160 million in cash.

Fortunately for prospect researchers with subscriptions to Donor Watch, they do not have to wade through the dozens of filings where insiders report their stock sales. Donor Watch's prospecting tool has powerful summary and analysis features that provide all of this information at the click of a button. Donor Watch also provides real-time email alerts so your team will be notified immediately following a major wealth creating event.

For more information about Donor Watch or its top donor prospect targeting reports, please visit Donor Watch's Website. Donor Watch provides its reports and analyses to the development offices and prospect research teams at many leading colleges, universities and non-profits. Donor Watch's unique and robust set of research tools empower fund raisers to manage their relationsmhips with top and high potential donors. To sign-up for a free trial of Donor Watch, please click here.


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