Thursday, February 13, 2003



Posted By on Thu, Feb 13, 2003 at 4:00 AM

Concord EFS, the Memphis-based company that processes credit card transactions, announced a management reorganization Thursday as its stock price, already down 70 percent, continued to slide. As The Memphis Flyer reported last August, Concord executives and board members were huge sellers of the stock last year at the same time they were touting a corporate buyback of 250 million shares in an attempt to bolster public confidence. Concord’s stock price hit $35 a share last year, but Thursday it was trading at about $10, down nearly $3 for the day. Concord was one of the best stock market performers in the decade of the Nineties, splitting several times and rewarding its top executives with millions of stock options. In the reorganization, Richard Kiphart, a Concord director and major stockholder since 1997, was named chairman. Dan Palmer, cofounder of the company and former chairman, will serve as director and co-chief executive officer. Edward Labry III, cofounder with Palmer, and president, will serve as director and president. Bond Isaacson, who joined the company in 2002, was named director and co-chief executive officer. Kiphart, Palmer, and Labry sold most of their stock in 2001 and 2002 at $27 to $31 a share. Palmer and Labry each netted $42,720,000 while Kiphart netted $41 million. The shares had been acquired via stock options for $1.14 to $1.98 a share, according to corporate financial disclosures. Other executives, including the chief financial officer, also sold big blocks of stock months ahead of the buyback announcement, by which time the share price had fallen nearly 50 percent. The Flyer reported last August that over the previous 13 months, Concord EFS insiders sold 28 times, exercising 4,285,142 options and dumping 6,077,722 shares. During the same time frame, there was no insider buying whatsoever. Earlier this week, rumors were circulating of a management shakeup. On Monday, company spokesman Melinda Mercurio told the Flyer, “it is our policy not to comment on rumors.” Concord EFS will report its fourth quarter earnings on February 18th.

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