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Milestone: Bill Gates no longer Microsoft’s largest shareholder, as shares dip below Ballmer’s stake

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For the primary time in Microsoft’s historical past, Bill Gates is no longer the corporate’s largest particular person shareholder, as of this afternoon.

A inventory sale by Gates made public a few minutes ago decreased his possession to 330.1 million shares, in comparison with greater than 333 million owned by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer as of the corporate’s final proxy submitting.

Gates has been steadily promoting Microsoft shares for years, at a median of 80 million shares yearly, primarily to endow the Bill & Melinda Gates Basis, funding its philanthropic work in training and international well being. Gates stepped down as Microsoft chairman when the corporate named Satya Nadella as its new CEO, however mentioned he would be spending more time at the company as an adviser.

The transaction that took Gates below Ballmer’s stake was a sale of 4.6 million shares on April 30, at a value of $40.34, bringing the Microsoft co-founder’s shares to 330,141,164, or simply beneath 4 p.c of the corporate. Microsoft’s shares closed at $39.69 at the moment.

The Microsoft co-founder’s standing as the largest shareholder dated again to the early days of the corporate, within the mid-Seventies.

In his 2011 memoir, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen wrote that he had initially envisioned his partnership with Gates as a 50-50 cut up, however Gates satisfied Allen to take 40 p.c, as a result of Allen had taken a wage from his work for Altair maker MITS through the early days. Later Gates satisfied Allen to go even additional and alter the cut up to 64-36 in Gates’ favor.

Ballmer held greater than 333 million Microsoft shares, or simply beneath 4 p.c of the corporate, as of the company’s most annual proxy filing last fall, and SEC filings point out no additional gross sales by the previous Microsoft CEO within the time since.

Saying his retirement plan final August, Ballmer wrote in an e mail to staff, “I cherish my Microsoft possession, and sit up for persevering with as one in every of Microsoft’s largest house owners.”

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