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Bezos sells US$2.5 billion of Amazon and signals more coming

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Founder, Chairman, CEO and President of Amazon Jeff Bezos speaks during an event about Blue Origin's space exploration plans in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Jeff Bezos sold about US2.5 billion of Amazon.com Inc. stock, his first big disposal this year. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne)

By Tom Maloney

(Bloomberg) — Jeff Bezos sold about US2.5 billion of Amazon.com Inc. stock, his first big disposal this year after offloading more than US$10 billion worth of shares in 2020.

Bezos sold around 739,000 shares this week under a pre-arranged trading plan, according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings. He plans to sell as many as 2 million shares, according to a separate filing.

The world’s richest person continues to hold more than 10% of Amazon.com, the primary source of his US$191.3 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

In the 15 years after Amazon.com went public in 1997, Bezos sold about a fifth of the online retailer for roughly US$2 billion. The value of his stake has ballooned in recent years to such an extent that he can now sell relatively small amounts for billions of dollars.

Amazon stock is little changed this year after rallying 76% in 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic kept people away from physical stores and encouraged online shopping.

The Amazon founder has used stock sales to fund rocket company Blue Origin, while he’s committed US$10 billion to the “Bezos Earth Fund” to help counter the effects of climate change.

The rocket maker said Wednesday it has set July 20 for its first mission carrying people to space and plans to auction off one seat on its New Shepard rocket.

Bezos would be far richer if it weren’t for his divorce from MacKenzie Scott. She received a 4% stake in Amazon as part of the split and quickly became one of the world’s most important philanthropists.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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