Microsoft CEO Dumps $1.34B of Microsoft Stock

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is raising a few eyebrows within the tech industry after opting to release US $1.3 billion worth of shares in the company. The move reduces his overall shares by about 12 per cent and marks his first stock sale in the past seven years.

Not surprisingly, many believe that the sale points to a lack of confidence in the company and creates a strong indicator that the 54-year-old executive is preparing to leave in the very near future.

However, Ballmer says nothing could be further from the truth.

Microsoft CEO "Fully Committed"

In a statement posted on Microsoft's website, Ballmer addressed his skeptics claiming, "Even though this (stock sale) is a personal financial matter, I want to be clear about it 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." (Source:

Since first joining Microsoft in 1980, Ballmer has not expressed any desire to resign or leave the company indefinitely, despite facing constant criticism from Wall Street over lagging shares.

Critics: Massive Microsoft Stock Sale 'Surprising'

If nothing else, the sale of Microsoft stocks by Ballmer can be seen as surprising, to say the least.

As of Friday, Ballmer sold about 49.3 million Microsoft shares in three days alone, at prices just above and below $US 27 per share. Even more unusual is the fact that Ballmer still plans to sell up to 75 million shares by the end of the year, which would result in an 18 per cent total cut in his stake. (Source:

Ballmer currently sits as the second largest shareholder behind chairman and co-founder Bill Gates.

With Gates, shares are regularly sold in batches of 1 million or 2 million; however, this is done to fund his philanthropic foundation. The only rhyme or reason Ballmer is willing to give for his share sale is to diversify his investments and plan for taxes.

As of Friday, Ballmer continues to hold a 4.2 per cent share of the company (359 million Microsoft shares), currently worth an estimated US $9.6 billion.

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