We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,258 News Articles

Google's Schmidt gains option to sell up to 42 percent of his stock

The trade plan would let him diversify his portfolio, a company filing said

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt may end up selling 42 percent of his shares in the company under a new stock trading plan designed to diversify his investment portfolio.

Schmidt owned approximately 7.6 million shares of class A and class B common stock as of Dec. 31, 2012, but in November he adopted a trading plan giving him the option to sell up to 3.2 million shares of class A common stock. That plan became active this month, the company announced Friday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The trading plan is designed to allow Schmidt to diversity his investment portfolio and spread stock trades out over a period of one year to reduce the market impact, the filing said.

The 7.6 million shares owned as of last December represented 2.3 percent of Google's outstanding capital stock and about 18 percent of the voting power, the company reported.

Based on Friday's closing price of US$785.37, the sale of 3.2 million shares would bring a whopping $2.5 billion.

Though there is no guarantee Schmidt will sell all those shares, the plan could be seen as Schmidt beginning to "cash out a little," said Greg Sterling, senior analyst with Opus Research.

In fact, "I wouldn't be surprised if he departs within 12 to 24 months," the analyst said.

Schmidt basically acts as an ambassador for Google with foreign governments, so it would be a natural step for him to leave and pursue a more official role as a U.S. diplomat or ambassador, Sterling said. In a closely watched move last month, Schmidt went to North Korea and met some of the country's leaders, though he called the trip a personal one.

On the other hand, Schmidt, who served as Google's CEO from 2001 to 2011, could just coast with his remaining stock even if he sold the 3.2 million shares, Sterling added.

Google will put out a separate filing with the SEC if Schmidt does sell off shares.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is [email protected]


IDG UK Sites

Spotify launches on PS4 as Tidal arrives on Sonos: It's Tidal vs Spotify music streaming

IDG UK Sites

It's World Backup Day 2015! Don't wait another minute: back up now

IDG UK Sites

Get the free Adobe Comp CC iPad app for rapid layout design

IDG UK Sites

New 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro (early 2015, 2.7GHz) review: Just about the greatest upgrade any...