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Microsoft's Ballmer to sell 70 million shares

updated 03:30 am EDT, Sat November 6, 2010

Despite stagnant performance, could net $2B

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has recently sold about 12 percent of his stake in the company, recent SEC filings revealed, prompting a statement from Microsoft that the executive plans to part with about 75 million shares total, or approximately 18 percent of his 408 million estimated shares, by year's end for "diversification and tax planning" reasons.

Ballmer sold 49.3 million shares in the last three days at an average selling price of $27 per share, for a net gain of $1.34 billion. If he sells the full 75 million shares, he will gain a total of around $2 billion, but still own around 325 million shares, or about four percent of the company, worth nearly $10 billion.

Perhaps to prevent speculation that he may be preparing to retire or leave the company, Balmer added in the statement that "Even though this is a personal financial matter, I want to be clear about this to avoid any confusion. I am excited about our new products and the potential for our technology to change people's lives, and I remain fully committed to Microsoft and its success."

Ballmer remains the second largest shareholder in Microsoft behind current Chairman Bill Gates, who owns around 620 million shares or about 7.2 percent of the company.

Microsoft's shares have been averaging in the mid-$20s for over eight years, with the average price rising only 0.75 percent over the last five years, causing complaints from shareholders that have grown recently. By contrast, Apple's stock has risen over 500 percent in the same time period, with no sign of a downturn.

Ballmer's move comes on the heels of reports of Apple executives also selling substantial portions of their holdings, perhaps sparked by the coming change in long-term capital gains tax rates, which are set to rise from 15 to 20 percent with the new year due to the expiration of Bush-era cuts. The tax rate will return to its 2002 level as per the original legislation.

by MacNN Staff



  1. starwarrior

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not going to grow much

    With good companies, money left in will outgrow tax liabilities. He must not be expecting any good Microsoft news next year. Softies, run for the hills.

  1. Double_UK

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Rat leaving the sinking S.S. Microsoft?

    "I am excited about our new products and the potential for our technology to change people's lives, and I remain fully committed to Microsoft and its success."

    ... from a safe distance.

  1. tortenteufel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    the leader!

    Comment buried. Show
  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Reading too much

    You people are reading too much into this article. One of the Apple execs sold off a portion of his shares for 45 million. I think this has more to do with taxes and the upcoming end of the year.

    Also, while I love Apple products, MS isn't going anywhere soon. While they may not be doing the best in the mobile market (ie phones and digital media players) they are still raking in a fortune from their OS and other areas of the company. Too many of the world's computer run on a version of Windows for MS to fail anytime soon.

    How about some of the Apple fanboys getting over their MS hatred and doing something constructive with their lives???

  1. thebiggfrogg

    Joined: Dec 1969


    In other words...

    the opposite of "balls out" is "Ball-mer".

    He's right behind you Microsoft! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay behind!

  1. mac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Needs the cash ...

    To add more AAPL shares to his portfolio ...

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's time to flip the table over and go home

    Sore loser.

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Selling shares for $45M is not the same as 70M sha


    How much is AAPL per share? $300+
    How much is MSFT per share? UNDER $30

    $45M worth of AAPL = 150,000 shares
    70M shares = $2000M

  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Here's a suggestion

    Hey Monkey Boy - do Microsoft a favor and just quit.

  1. martinX

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Fairy nuff

    I think that's fair enough. They're his shares and he is entitled to sell them at any time he .... OMG EVERYONE MAKE A BREAK FOR THE DOOR - THIS SHIP IS SINKING!

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