According to a recent SEC filing, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt could sell up to 42 percent of his stock in the company and gain over $2.5 billion.
The move is part of a trading plan established in November designed to diversify his portfolio. Schmidt, who owned 7.6 million shares in December, would sell 3.2 million shares over the course of a year in order to reduce market impact. If Friday’s closing price of $785.37 remained constant throughout that period, the sale would net him $2.51 billion.
If executed, the sale could greatly shrink Schmidt’s holdings in the company, which already account for only 2.3 percent of Google’s outstanding capital stock, and 8.2 percent of the company’s voting power. (In comparison, Sergey Brin currently owns 8.5 percent of the voting power, and CEO Larry Page owns 8.7 percent.) This has led to some speculation among financial analysts that Schmidt may be backing out of Google and seeking a position as a U.S diplomat or ambassador; a “personal” trip to North Korea to meet some of the country’s leaders confirms this theory. Whether or not Schmidt will sell the entirety of his 42 percent of stock, however, remains uncertain for now.
Yet, such a large transaction would not be unusual for the billionaire. Last February, Schmidt sold off 2.4 million shares for about $1.5 billion, cutting his shares in the company from 2.8 percent to 2.1 percent. The move was conducted through the exact same trading plan that Schmidt will use for his next huge sale.
Currently, Schmidt’s annual salary as executive chairman is $1.25 million. As of last September, he is worth a total of $7.5 billion, according to Forbes. Schmidt has been the executive chairman of Google since April 2011, when he stepped down from his previous position as CEO.