Mark Zuckerberg has sold Facebook shares almost every weekday this year
After a year in which he did not let go of any Facebook action, Mark Zuckerberg is back to his sales habits.
As of Nov. 9, 2020, the co-founder and CEO of Facebook, which is worth $ 127 billion, has unloaded shares almost every business day, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In total, he sold 9.4 million shares, worth $ 2.8 billion, in the past eight months to Wednesday. About 90% of sales were made by his philanthropic and activist organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI). A smaller portion – about $ 200 million after tax, per Forbes‘estimates – went into its own pockets. Zuckerberg, who is the fifth richest person in the world, has now winnowed his stake in Facebook to around 14%, down from 28% at the time of the company’s IPO.
Since Facebook went public in May 2012, Zuckerberg and CZI have sold more than 132 million shares of the social media giant, for a total value of almost $ 15 billion. Of that, he personally pocketed around $ 2.1 billion after tax, Forbes estimates. Zuckerberg started selling Facebook shares on a regular basis in 2016, the year after he and his wife Priscilla Chan established CZI. At the time, the couple wrote a letter to their unborn daughter, pledging to donate 99% of their Facebook shares over their lifetime to areas such as education and healing from illnesses; the shares were then worth $ 45 billion. Zuckerberg and CZI sales peaked in 2018, when they offloaded $ 5.3 billion in shares, the vast majority through CZI.
But Zuckerberg stopped selling in November 2019, making just one donation via CZI of 204,700 shares worth $ 60 million last year to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF), a non-profit organization. Mountain View, Calif., nonprofit that operates donor-advised charities, among other things. funds. In 2018, Zuckerberg and Chan donated nearly $ 2 billion worth of Facebook shares to SVCF.
A spokesperson for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative did not explain why Zuckerberg stopped and then resumed sales a year later, but said his sales were made according to predetermined plans filed with the State Securities and Exchange Commission. -United. These plans, called 10b5-1 plans, allow corporate officers to sell shares at regular intervals and are quite common among executives with significant stock market positions in companies.
Despite a few tumultuous years, during which Facebook was criticized for allowing the collection of data on its users, the proliferation of disinformation on the platform and hate speech, which led to an advertising boycott of more than 1 000 companies, the company’s shares continued to soar. . After a federal court dismissed two antitrust lawsuits filed by the Federal Trade Commission against the tech giant on June 28, shares in the Menlo Park, Calif., Company closed at a record high of $ 355.64 . Facebook stock has since continued to trade at similar levels; its current stock price is up more than 800% from its IPO nine years ago, when Zuckerberg was worth $ 16.9 billion. In particular, the stock has been tearing apart since March 2020, with its value more than doubling in the past 17 months.
The vast majority of sales of Zuckerberg’s Facebook shares, estimated at $ 11 billion, were made by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, primarily through CZI Holdings, a limited liability company, or the CZI Foundation, the non-profit granting arm of the initiative. CZI has awarded $ 2.9 billion in grants and invested $ 150 million in for-profit businesses since 2015, according to its website. (The rest of the proceeds are likely invested elsewhere by CZI and used to fund the organization, which has more than 200 employees.) In 2016, Priscilla Chan announced that CZI would spend $ 3 billion over a decade to try to cure all diseases. âWe believe that we can cure, prevent or manage any disease in the lifetime of our children,â Chan said at the time. âIt doesn’t mean that no one will get sick, but they should get a lot less sick. It is not known how much progress CZI has made towards this ambitious goal.
At the end of last year, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Advocacy, the political advocacy arm of CZI, sold the remaining 103,000 Facebook shares it held. According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, CZI Advocacy has contributed $ 17.8 million to left-wing voting initiatives, primarily in California, since 2018.
Sales of Zuckerberg shares over time are common among founders who have gone public, and similar to those of his fellow tech moguls. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos reduced his stake to 24% from 42% in the first nine years after the IPO, selling around $ 500 million in stock, while Google founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, reduced their stake to around 7%, down from 16% during the same period. amount of time.
Relatively speaking, however, Zuckerberg sold far fewer Facebook shares (in dollars) than Bezos sold Amazon in total. Since Amazon went public in 1997, Forbes calculated that Bezos sold nearly $ 27 billion in Amazon stock (before tax). Of that amount, he sold $ 10 billion last year. That makes Zuckerberg’s $ 2 billion in sales paltry. Today, Bezos’ stake in Amazon stands at 10% after having notably sold a quarter of its 16% stake in 2019 to his ex-wife MacKenzie Scott in the context of the most expensive divorce in history. Yet the former Amazon CEO, who stepped down earlier this month, is the richest person in the world.
About 98% of Zuckerberg’s estimated $ 127 billion fortune still resides in his Facebook stocks. The remainder comes from stock sales, as well as a real estate portfolio estimated at $ 200 million that includes properties in Palo Alto, California, Hawaii and Lake Tahoe. Zuckerberg spent more than $ 100 million in 2014 to buy 700 acres of land on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, then added another 600 acres in May for $ 53 million, according to a report from Mansion Global.