Abbott Laboratories Chief Executive Officer Miles White, in the midst of buying two medical technology rivals, told investors last week he thought the company’s stock price would only be going up. Now he’s using his own cash to back the assertion.
White added 1.28 million shares to the 1.46 million he already owned, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The $45.5 million purchase will make him one of the company’s top 100 shareholders, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
To make the purchase, White exercised options of 550,000 shares at a price of $25.25 at a total cost $13.9 million, and bought an additional 731,500 shares at a total cost of $31.6 million, according to the filings.
White, who’s been with Abbott for more than three decades and has served as CEO since 1999, said last week that he knew investors were unnerved as the company moves forward with buying medical device maker St. Jude Medical Inc. and waits for more information about a contentious Alere Inc. acquisition. Abbott, based in Abbott Park, Illinois, has said it may issue more equity to help pay for the deals, a move investors frown upon because it would dilute their ownership. The company also continues to hold shares of Mylan Plc gained by selling part of its generic drugs business.
With shares trading near $42, White said it was a great time to buy.
“I don’t think investors are ever going to see another point to buy in at this level,” White said on a July 20 conference call, after the company reported earnings that beat analysts’ estimates.