Bill Gates’ Dwindling Ownership of MSFT

Over the past decade, Bill Gates has been a constant name on the list of large insider sellers.  Since 2000, he has sold over 1 billion (split adjusted) shares of $MSFT, averaging about 80 million shares per year.  As a result, his one time 13.7% stake in the company is now just 4.5%.

While Gates’ selling is primarily about estate planning rather than a reflection of his opinion of the company, it’s possible that his selling has created a significant technical overhang over the stock.  Even though the company has shrunk the share count by about 2.2B shares since 2000, about half of those shares have effectively been purchased from Gates.

The good news for MSFT shareholders is that the overhang wont last too much longer.  If Gates decided he wanted to sell his stake to zero, he’d be out of the company by 2018 at the current pace.  If he’s comfortable with his current stake, the selling could slow.  Today Microsoft represents about 18% of Bill Gates’ net worth compared to 80% of it in 2001.

Bill Gates Ownership of MSFTSource: SEC Filings, Finviz


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