Not All Company Directors Will Shaft Investors

 | Aug 22, 2012 | 10:54 AM EDT  | Comments
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aapl

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goog

My Facebook (FB) rant, inspired by the monster insider sale of stock by director Peter Thiel, has certainly made the rounds, and for that I am most gratified. While the sale was totally legal, it stuck in my craw because it was so at odds with what was supposed to be the long-term value of the enterprise. If the company really is worth much more than it is selling for, as the executives tell you, then the sale seems counterintuitive, and we have every right to be angry about this decision to sell from someone who is playing with the house's money.

It is a reminder that in the annals of the web, Facebook seems almost as if it is a cocktail party site, a site where you chatter away. But it is not a purchasing site. That's Google (GOOG) with its superior search for what you want, that's Amazon (AMZN) with the cheapest prices, and that's Apple (AAPL) with iTunes. You don't go to buy things at a cocktail party, so Peter Thiel may be dumping because he understands that Facebook's mobile seems like a flop and that the site is reverting to an online cocktail party, and I thank him for telling the truth about the company with these sales.

Let's just say it is another black mark in a long list of black marks by rich directors who enrich themselves while regular Joes get stuck listening to management, believing in management, and then getting totally hosed.

However, I don't want to just bury the Thiels of the world, I want to praise those who do the right thing, who deliver for readers and viewers. I want to praise Mark Ordan, the CEO of Sunrise Senior Living (SRZ), who came on "Mad Money" a year ago when the stock was $6 and said the turn was at hand and that Sunrise would be a terrific investment. I had been skeptical of the stock, because I had thought seniors were having trouble selling their homes so they couldn't move into Sunrise as easily as they used to.

Mark assured me that Sunrise was doing just fine on its sales and, more important, it was fixing its balance sheet. I know Mark from the days he helped recruit me to Goldman Sachs some 30 years ago. He's a serial entrepreneur and turnaround artist who has a long history of delivering.

Well, he sure did deliver, with a beautiful bid for Sunrise today from a terrific outfit, Health Care REIT, for $14.50 a share. That's more than a double from when Ordan reassured us that the turn was intact.

Ordan's work is a reminder that there are many good things happening for stock owners, even though Facebook leaves a loathsome taste in our mouths. Congratulations to Mark and to all of the investors who believed in him and the company. Condolences to all of the Facebook investors who believed in management's ability to navigate the quick migration from desktop to mobile.

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