michael d fleisher medium 1238103725188 WMG Exec Gives Self $3 Mil GiftGood news: when Michael Fleisher was made vice chairman of Warner Music Group last November, part of the deal was a gift to him of 450,00 shares of restricted stock in the company. At the time, WMG stock was at $2.77.

Interesting footnote, just FYI: according to ‘this SEC 8-K filing from WMG, Fleisher got the job in September when the stock was around $8.50. But the deal wasn’t done until November, when the price had fallen around five bucks. That’s when Fleisher locked in his purchase price for future stock buys at $2.77.

During the ensuing months, of course, the stock had plummeted, eventually hitting a low of around $1.50. Who could have guessed that it would drop so between the time Fleisher signed his deal and the day he locked in his price? And that the price would then skyrocket again?

But in the last few months, WMG has been mysteriously and inexplicably on the rise (although this Billboard analysis has its theories). On Tuesday the stock price hit $7.47. And what did Fleisher do? He sold, of course. He made $2,964,000 on the sale of 400,000 shares. And he still has another 400,000 options to buy at $2.77.

That’s quite a reward for an executive at a company that’s failed to do anything remotely successful and whose CEO’Edgar Bronfman, Jr.‘ just announced he was moving to London, far away from the daily decision making that’s so far marked his reign of incompetence at WMG.


The big question now is, who sells next? Bronfman or vice chairman’Lyor Cohen? They each plunked down huge amounts in the millions to buy shares when the price was $5.29 back on March 15, 2008. If they sell now, they’ll make $2 per share. But perhaps they’ll wait and gamble that the stock will rise some more for no reason.

WMG currently has two albums bearing its name on Billboard’s Top 25 albums, and two others’by Nickelback’that are part of a now-ended distribution deal.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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