Business

Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer in sale of shares

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer
Image caption Mr Ballmer says he remains committed to Microsoft

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has sold $1.3bn (£800m) worth of shares in the firm, the first time he has sold its stock in seven years.

"Even though this is a personal financial matter, I want to be clear about this to avoid any confusion," Mr Ballmer said in a statement.

Mr Ballmer said he was "fully committed to Microsoft and its success".

According to SEC filings he sold 49.3 million Microsoft shares at prices between $26 and $28 per share.

Sell-off continues

Mr Ballmer still holds 359 million shares, worth $9.6bn at Microsoft's current share price, which closed down 1.36% at $26.77 in US trading on Friday.

He said the sale of shares was made to diversify his investments and help his year-end tax planning.

His statement, published on Microsoft's website, also says that he hopes to "sell up to 75 million shares by year-end".

Microsoft's share price has been hit this year as investors worry about its ability to adapt to new ways of computing.

However, last month the firm announced a 51% rise in first-quarter profit, thanks to higher sales of its flagship Windows and Office software.

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