Microsoft: Steve Ballmer sells 1.3 billion dollars worth of Microsoft shares

November 08th, 2010 - 10:15 am ET by J. G.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer last week sold close to 50 million Microsoft shares for an approximate total of 1.3 billion dollars.

Ballmer-SteveIn the space of three days last week, the emblematic boss of Microsoft sold the equivalent of 1.3 billion dollars of his Microsoft shares, offloading 49.3 million shares.

The man, who has been at the head of the software giant since 2000, isn’t finished either as he is planning to sell 75 million shares by the end of the year. Before deciding to sell this first parcel he held 408 million shares.

According to Reuters, controlling 4.2% of the company (9.6 billion dollars), Steve Ballmer is currently the second largest Microsoft shareholder, behind none other than its president (non-executive) and co-founder Bill Gates (621 millions shares, controlling 7.2% of the company) who regularly sells his Microsoft shares to fund his philanthropic foundation.

Steve Ballmer sold his shares after Microsoft handed down a good set of financial results. It also leaves people wondering whether the 54 year old is contemplating stepping down from the company he joined in 1980, something which may coincide with rumours of a new cloud computing strategy. Steve Ballmer recently declared that Windows 8 would be Microsoft’s biggest bet yet.

Steve Ballmer has had rumours surrounding his eventual departure from the company since 2002. In a short release published on Microsoft’s web site, he declared that this was a "personal financial matter" and reaffirmed his "enthusiasm for Microsoft’s new products", and his "complete devotion to Microsoft and its success".

According to the latest Forbes ranking, Steve Ballmer is the world’s 33rd richest man with a personal fortune estimated at 14.5 billion dollars.

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