Jeff Bezos discloses plan to sell 50 million Amazon shares as stock surges

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Jeff Bezos plans to sell as many as 50 million shares of Amazon.com Inc. over the next 12 months, potentially cashing in on a stock surge that’s put him within reach of becoming the world’s richest person.

Founder, Chairman, CEO and President of Amazon Jeff Bezos (Reuters)(Reuters File Photo)

The disclosure comes after Amazon reported its best online sales growth since early in the pandemic, sending its shares rallying by nearly 8% to $172. Bezos’ wealth jumped a commensurate amount, gaining $12.1 billion Friday to put him $8.1 billion behind first-place Elon Musk, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Bezos hasn’t been No. 1 on the index since 2021.

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The gap between Bezos and Musk has been narrowing as Amazon and Tesla Inc. shares move in opposite directions. Amazon has benefited from a rebound in tech shares that’s sent US stock indexes to all-time highs, while Tesla has been beset by a series of negative headlines. Musk’s wealth could also take a hit after a Delaware judge voided his $55 billion pay package this week.

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Bezos, 60, adopted a trading plan to sell 50 million shares anytime before Jan. 31, 2025, according to a filing Friday. That would be worth about $8.6 billion at the current share price.

Amazon disclosed the planned stock sales of Bezos, other board members and senior executives in its annual report, complying with new Securities and Exchange Commission rules that require greater transparency for corporate insiders who sell shares under pre-arranged trading plans.

A spokesperson for the Seattle-based company declined to comment on the planned stock sales.

If Bezos follows through with the plan, it would mark the first time he has sold Amazon stock since 2021. He did buy a single share of the company in May, his first recorded purchase in records going back to 2002, though without explanation.

The Amazon co-founder recently announced he’s moving to Miami from the Seattle area, which means Washington state could miss out on a tax windfall from any potential share sale. Washington recently introduced a capital-gains tax, while Florida doesn’t have one.

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