Wachovia director snaps up stock near multi-year low

WASHINGTON Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:46pm EST

WASHINGTON Nov 13 (Reuters) - A Wachovia Corp WB.N director recently bought 100,000 company shares on the open market for about $3.9 million on the same day the No. 4 U.S. bank's stock hit a new low.

Lanty Smith bought the shares on Nov. 9 for $38.70 each, boosting his direct ownership by about 83 percent to 183,000 shares, according to a regulatory filing on Tuesday.

According to a research note on InsiderScore.com, Smith, Wachovia's lead independent director, bought the stock on the same day Wachovia shares fell to a multi-year low.

The stock hit a low of $38.05 on Nov. 9 when it reported a $1.1 billion loss on subprime mortgage-related debt in October. Wachovia shares closed at $40.65 that day.

The research note also referenced recent Wachovia stock purchases by director John Baker, who bought 5,000 shares at $42.70 on Nov. 2, just ahead of Wachovia's announcement of its massive write-down.

Both Smith and Baker each owned more than the required amount of stock prior to their recent purchases and directors are the only insiders at Wachovia to buy stock during the past four years, the note said.

Wachovia directors must own common stock or common stock equivalents equal to at least five times the annual cash retainer of $70,000 within three years of joining the board.

Wachovia shares were up $1.89, or 4.7 percent, at $42.52 during early afternoon trading on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Karey Wutkowski; editing by Andre Grenon)