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Former Boston Scientific executives poised to make $14 million from stock sale

John Abele and Peter Nicholas were slated to sell 100,000 shares each of Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE:BSX) stock this week, exactly a year to the day that the retired executives initiated the transactions through separate forward-sale contracts. The transfers have become familiar activity for the Boston Scientific co-founders over the past 18 months. They both […]

John Abele and Peter Nicholas were slated to sell 100,000 shares each of Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE:BSX) stock this week, exactly a year to the day that the retired executives initiated the transactions through separate forward-sale contracts.

The transfers have become familiar activity for the Boston Scientific co-founders over the past 18 months. They both have two more 100,000-share contracts ready to mature this month, and between them formally turned over possession of 2.25 million shares during the first three months of 2010. Overall, the deals generated slightly more than $8.1 million in gross proceeds for Abele and added about $7.1 million to Nicholas’ bank accounts.

The April 6 settlements were not the only forays into the market by the pair in recent months. The retired executives sold a total of 800,000 Boston Scientific shares during the quarter — 600,000 shares by Abele and 200,000 shares by Nicholas — through a process known as 10b5-1 sales, which allow company insiders to sell stock over extended periods through a series of pre-arranged transactions. They also executed a new set of forward-sale contracts, with Abele pocketing nearly $5 million by pledging to sell nearly 1 million shares to an unidentified bank in March 2012. Nicholas similarly enjoyed a $4.6 million payday after making just under 900,000 shares available for future sale, also in 2012.

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Abele, 73, has been a director at Boston Scientific since its 1979 launch and retired from the Natick, Mass.-based device manufacturer in 1995. Nicholas, 68, also remains a director after stepping down in 1999 following a 20-year stint as CEO.

As recently as three years ago, Nicholas controlled nearly 94 million shares, or about 6.4 percent of all Boston Scientific stock, mostly through a family limited partnership. At its peak, when the stock was topping out close to $45 a share, his net worth — at least on paper — had climbed past $4.5 billion. Abele, meanwhile, has owned as many as 58.4 million shares of the company’s stock and was worth roughly $2.5 billion at the stock’s high-water mark in May 2004.

Through April 1, Nicholas had pared his stake to roughly 21.4 million shares and Abele owned about 8 million shares, according to securities filings.

To reach those levels, Abele moved 600,000 shares through 10b5-1 sales during the first quarter, resulting in $4.2 million in proceeds. Coupled with proceeds from the 980,000 shares he intends to sell through forward-sale contracts maturing in 2012, his total take for the quarter was $9.2 million. Abele also made good on $8.1 million in forward-sale contracts he initiated during the first three months of 2009, delivering 1.13 million shares to the unidentified bank that coordinated the transactions.

Nicholas pocketed about $6 million during the quarter. He sold 200,000 shares through the 10b5-1 process at an average price of $7.03 per share, producing $1.4 million in proceeds, and set up forward-sale contracts paying $4.6 million in exchange for nearly 900,000 shares slated for delivery in March 2012. He previously received about $7.1 million for the 1 million-plus shares delivered between Jan. 7 and March 30 to complete his forward-sale contracts.

The Massachusetts Medical Devices Journal is the online journal of the medical devices industry in the Commonwealth and New England, providing day-to-day coverage of the devices that save lives, the people behind them, and the burgeoning trends and developments within the industry.

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