Jeff Bezos sells 24 million Amazon shares worth $4 billion

It is the first time the world’s second-richest person has sold stock since 2021

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has not explained why he is selling the shares in the e-commerce company. AP
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Jeff Bezos, the world's second-richest person, did not wait long to start cashing in on Amazon’s rally to start the year.

Less than two weeks after disclosing a plan to dispose of as many as 50 million shares of the company he founded, Mr Bezos has offloaded 24 million shares, worth more than $4 billion.

The sales took place over four trading days, according to regulatory findings.

It is the first time Mr Bezos has sold stock in the world's biggest online retailer since 2021.

Mr Bezos has not explained why he is selling Amazon shares now. However, the timing of when he instituted the trading plan may provide a clue.

He announced on November 2 that he was moving to Miami, from the Seattle region. He adopted a so-called 10b5-1 plan on November 8.

Washington state instituted a 7 per cent capital gains tax in 2022 – something Florida does not have – meaning Mr Bezos’s relocation is probably saving him $288 million so far.

Because Mr Bezos has only ever bought a single share of Amazon, it is safe to assume he has owned the stock since the company was founded and, therefore, virtually all of their value would be considered capital gains.

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Amazon shares were up 13 per cent this year through to Monday’s close, the last day on which Mr Bezos sold shares, according to a filing. They slipped 2.2 per cent to $168.64 on Tuesday.

A tax bill of $288 million would be a significant windfall for Washington, which raised $855 million from the capital gains tax last year, more than half of which came from only 10 people, according to state officials.

Updated: February 14, 2024, 6:31 AM