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Netscape CEO to increase stake

Jim Barksdale, who earned only $1 last year and returned options on 300,000 shares, plans to increase his stake in the company.

Netscape Communications' chief executive Jim Barksdale, who earned only $1 in compensation last year and returned a stock option grant of 300,000 shares to the company, plans to increase his stake in the software maker.

Barksdale told shareholders at the company's annual meeting today in Santa Clara, California, that he will buy more Netscape stock because he feels it is a good investment, according to Bloomberg.

"It is a good investment at today's price," Barksdale said. "I plan to increase my holdings of Netscape in the public market very soon."

He did not say how many shares he would purchase or when.

According to the company's latest proxy statement, Barksdale currently owns 4.8 million shares in Netscape, equating to a 4.9 percent stake in the software maker.

Barksdale's disclosure comes three months after five of Netscape's top executives filed to sell about 850,000 shares--during a period when the company's stock was trading near its 52-week low.

The executives included Marc Andreessen, the company's vice president of products; Michael Homer, vice president of sales and marketing; James Sha, general manager of integrated applications; Roberta Katz, general counsel; and Richard Schell, general manager of Netscape's client products division.

Some analysts have expressed concern about insiders selling their shares when a company's stock is retreating, because it may signal a lack of confidence. Insiders typically sell when a stock is rising--often at or near a 52-week high.

Netscape has been losing market share in the Internet browser business to Microsoft.

Earlier this week, Netscape reported that it broke even for its second fiscal quarter ending in April, but reported a $54.2 million loss for the month of January.

The company said it was pleased with its results, and its stock has been rebounding of late.