Green Mountain Stock Sold Before Threat

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc chairman and founder Robert Stiller, sold over $66 million of stock in the company before it plummeted more than at any other time in 48 months. That came after news broke that Starbucks had a rival brewer to compete with its famous K-Cup coffee brewer.

Stiller made two stock sales in February. Together, they were the largest sales he had made in one month since 2003. At that time, the stock was only $2. If he would have kept his stock until after the March 9 Starbucks announcement, Stiller would have not have received $13.7 million of the actual proceeds he cashed out.

Green Mountain is having a hard time to maintain market share. It is bracing for the expiration of its patents in September for its K-Cups. Its plastic pods dominate single-serve coffeemakers across the United States. As other competitors have prepared new machines, the Vermont based company has seen its stock price nearly halved in the last six months to $53.31through the end of last week.

Securities experts said that the sale of stock would be something the Securities and Exchange Commission will look into. Starbucks told Green Mountain about its plan to introduce the coffee brewer before it made its announcement to the public, according to a spokesperson for Starbucks.

In February, Stiller sold over one million shares and in doing so, reduced his stake by nearly 7%. The shares were not marked as 10b5-1 sales that highlight them as pre-programmed sales to show that they were not sold based on receiving inside information.