My spidey sense is tingling; I am going to bet that Ballmer steps down within a year.
Here is the official statement:
Ballmer Statement on Stock Sales
First stock sale in seven years, for diversification and tax planning.
Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer confirmed Friday that he is selling some of his holdings of Microsoft stock to gain financial diversification and to assist in tax planning before the end of the calendar year. He plans to sell up to 75 million shares by year-end. Before taking into account recent sales, according to the latest Microsoft proxy report, Ballmer held approximately 408 million shares.
“Even though this is a personal financial matter, I want to be clear about this to avoid any confusion,” Ballmer said. “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.”
Does anyone really buy this nonsense? The dude just dumped $1 billion in stock — and its for tax planning!
He sold 49.3 million shares in the company — that is $1.3 billion in cash. The shares Ballmer sold amount to 12% of his personal holdings; he still has a 4.2% stake in Mister Softee, according to Reuters.
The sale seemed to be timed,to high-profile releases of the Kinect and Windows Phone 7 — now on sale in the U.S. On Microsoft’s website, Ballmer cites tax planning and financial diversification as reasons for his first stock sale in seven years, and says he plans to sell up to 75 million shares by the end of the year.
Video after the jump
Bing Bing Bing!