Google's Eric Schmidt Selling 3.2M Shares

Dennis Faas's picture

Former Google chief executive officer and current executive chairman Eric Schmidt has been given the option to sell off almost half of his shares in the search firm. The company says that's no reason to be concerned, however.

Until recently, Schmidt owned roughly 7.6 million Google shares, representing 2.3 per cent of Google's outstanding capital stock. That gave Schmidt roughly 8 per cent of the firm's voting power.

Former CEO Stands to Make $2.5 Billion from Stock Sale

However, late last year he adopted a new stock trading plan that opened up the option of selling an estimated 3.2 million of those shares. (Source:

According to a recent filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, the plan took effect this month.

So, how much will Schmidt receive in exchange for the shares (if he decides to sell all of them)? Given Google's share value on Friday, which was just over $785, Schmidt stands to make approximately $2.5 billion by selling 3.2 million shares.

Google says that Schmidt's stock sell-off is simply part of the former CEO's plan to diversify his investment portfolio. The company says it does not indicate that Schmidt has any less commitment to Google than he did prior to selling the shares.

Analyst: Schmidt May Be Exiting Soon

But industry analysts aren't buying that argument. Opus Research senior analyst Greg Sterling said "I wouldn't be surprised if he departs within 12 to 24 months." (Source:

57-year-old Schmidt was Google's CEO from 2001 until 2011. Today he acts as something of an ambassador for the firm. With an estimated wealth of more than $7 billion, Forbes ranks him as the 138th-richest person in the world.

Last month Schmidt visited North Korea and met with some of the country's political leaders, leading to speculation that Google was attempting to make inroads with the communist nation.

However, Schmidt insists the visit was a personal one and does not indicate that Google has any special plans for North Korea.

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