Did Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel delete his Twitter account, and dump most of his Moderna shares?!
Take a look at the viral claims, and find out what the facts really are!
Updated @ 2022-02-16 : Added updates from BFMTV
Originally posted @ 2022-02-15
Claim : Moderna CEO Deleted Twitter Account + Dumped Stock!
People are claiming that there’s something fishy going on at Moderna, because their CEO – Stephane Bancel – just deleted his Twitter account and sold off a ton of shares in the company!
Moderna CEO Deleted Twitter Account, But Did Not Dump Stock!
These are more misinformation, based on some truth… and here are the reasons why.
Fact #1 : Stephane Bancel’s Twitter Account Was Deleted
Stephane Bancel’s Twitter account, @sbancel, appears to be deleted on or around 11 February 2022. It now shows the error message – This account doesn’t exist.
A new parody account, @stephane_bancel, was just created, apparently to troll antivaxxers. However, that is not his real account.
When reached by BFMTV, Bancel explained that he closed it because “he hasn’t used it since 2019, [and] hasn’t tweeted for 2 years“.
Fact #2 : He Also Closed His Facebook + Instagram Accounts
Bancel also told BFMTV that he closed his Facebook and Instagram accounts as well.
Fact #3 : No Requirement To Delete Social Media Accounts
@sbancel was Stephane Bancel’s personal Twitter account, and does not belong to Moderna (despite the background logo it uses).
Therefore, the suggestion that he deleted his account because he’s going to leave Moderna is nonsensical.
There is no need for him to delete his personal Twitter account even if he leaves Moderna. Neither do companies like Moderna require their CEO or employees to delete their personal Twitter accounts before leaving.
Fact #4 : Stephane Bancel Hasn’t Been Active Since 2019
The last time Stephane Bancel used his Twitter account appears to be 3 April 2019, when he retweeted a Moderna post about his fireside chat at the Needham & Co Healthcare Conference.
The last time he actually posted a tweet of his own was on 2 April 2019, when he tweeted about Moderna building a new mRNA manufacturing site. Since then, he has not posted or retweeted anything else in almost 3 years.
Fact #5 : Stephane Bancel Only Sold Some Shares
Dale Gamble did a great job on this. He did some digging and found that Bancel was only selling 19,000 shares per week.
At an average share price of $160, that nets him about $3 million per week, or about $30 million in the last 2.5 months.
That is a very nice chunk of cash, but nowhere near the hundreds of millions of dollars, or $400 million dollars worth of stock that he allegedly sold since December 2021.
Fact #6 : Moderna Stock Sales Were Pre-Determined
The sale of Bancel’s Moderna shares were pre-determined as per Rule 10b5-1 of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934.
That regulation allows company insiders to sell their shares at predetermined times, to avoid accusations of illegal insider trading.
Bancel’s 10b5-1 stock sale plans date back to December 2018, and were modified in September 2019 and most recently, in May 2021.
When reached by BFMTV, Bancel explained that his shares were sold every Wednesday and Thursday since 2019.
Fact #7 : Stephane Bancel Has Plenty Of Moderna Stock Left
If he continues to sell 19,000 shares per week, he will sell about a million shares per year. That sounds like a lot, but is less than 5% of the Moderna stock he owns.
As Dale Gamble explained, Bancel owned 5.7 million Moderna shares directly, and another 16.1 million shares indirectly as of 10 February 2022.
Even if he sells his Moderna stock at a million shares a year, it will be many years before he finishes selling them all. Stephane Bancel remains Moderna’s largest insider shareholder.
This chart of Stephane Bancel’s Moderna stock holdings by Quartz shows just how many shares he still has left – A LOT.
Bancel also told BFMTV that he has about “31 million shares and stock options” in Moderna.
Fact #8 : There Is No mRNA Vaccine Fraud
While people have suggested that Bancel is selling his Moderna stock because of fraud with the mRNA vaccine trial, that’s nonsense.
People have made these claims of fraud in the clinical trials since the mRNA vaccines were approved, but until today – there is still no evidence of fraud.
It is easy to make such accusations, but pray tell – where is the evidence?
Fact #9 : Stephane Bancel Had Been Selling Before COVID-19
Another interesting fact that conspiracy theorists and antivaxxers conspicuously do not tell you is that – Stephane Bancel had been steadily selling Moderna shares since September 2019.
This was before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and before Moderna announced the development of their mRNA-1273 vaccine in January 2020.
Moderna stock value has multiplied between 10X and 30X in the last 2 years, so it wouldn’t make sense for him to sell them so early or regularly.
Fact #10 : Other Moderna Execs Sold Stocks To Pay Taxes
SEC filings show that recent sales by Moderna’s CTO and Quality Officer Juan Andres, and CFO David Meline were made automatically to cover taxes on company stock that they received as compensation.
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