CEO of self-driving car company Luminar buys stock

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A vehicle with Luminar LiDAR

Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

L stock crashed and founder and CEO Austin Russell scooped up the cheapest shares.

Luminar stock (ticker: LAZR) lost half its value last year against a 27% rise in the S&P 500 index. So far this year, shares have slid 13% against 5% for the S&P. The company, which went public through a special purpose acquisition company in December 2020, manufactures lidar sensors for autonomous vehicles. Luminar was swept away as investors backfired on newly public SPAC deals. On December 14, Luminar announced that it would take steps to provide more capital and build shareholder confidence.

Russell paid $1.1 million on Jan. 21 and Feb. 2 for 80,000 Luminar shares, an average price per share of $13.87, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He made the purchases through a so-called Rule 10b5-1 trading plan, which automatically executes trades when preset parameters are met. Russell launched his plan on December 21.

Luminar did not make Russell available for comment, but did note that his purchase was part of insider stock purchases announced as part of the December recapitalization plan. “[W]We believe our stock price has not reflected the victories and successes we have had over the past year,” Russell said in the press release.

On December 14, Cowen analyst Joshua Buchalter launched Luminar coverage at Outperform with a price target of $22. Buchalter, however, noted that trading in stocks “likely remains volatile.”

Inside Scoop is a regular Barron column that covers the stock trading of corporate executives and board members – the so-called insiders – as well as major shareholders, politicians and other high profile figures. Because of their insider status, these investors are required to disclose stock trades to the Securities and Exchange Commission or other regulatory groups.

Write to Ed Lin at [email protected] and follow @BarronsEdLin.

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