While Bill Gates might not be as active in Microsoft as he once was, say a decade or so ago, he still managed to hold onto the title of the person with the biggest shareholder in the company. He had started out with a whopping 64% share in the company when he founded it with Paul Allen, but over the years it seems that he has been busy selling his shares in an effort to help fund his philanthropic efforts in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Well it turns out that in a recent stock sale that Gates had made not too long ago, it seems that Gates has vacated the title of the person as having the largest share in Microsoft. The recent sale saw his ownership reduced to 330.1 million shares which puts him below Microsoft’s former CEO, Steve Ballmer, who is currently sitting on 333 million shares, at least according to the company’s last proxy filing.
As we had mentioned earlier, Gates has been steadily selling his shares in the company at an average of 80 million shares a year, which is reportedly used to fund his philanthropic efforts. Gates has also stepped down from his position as Microsoft’s chairman when Satya Nadella was named the new CEO, but he did mention that his role at the company would be more of an advisory role now.
Will Ballmer be selling off his shares anytime soon to propel Gates back to the top? It certainly does not seem like it because in an email he wrote to employees last year, “I cherish my Microsoft ownership, and look forward to continuing as one of Microsoft’s largest owners.”