Securities and Exchange Commission records show Gates launched the selloff on August 3rd, when he disposed of 2 million shares at a price of $24.17 per share. Gates then made four additional sales of shares totaling 5 million through Friday.
The price Gates received for the shares ranged from $23.64 to $24.17. Microsoft shares were off .81% to $23.17 in afternoon trading Monday. The company on Sunday announced a deal to sell its Razorfish digital ad agency to France's Publicis Groupe for $530 million in cash and stock.
Gates divestitures hardly make him a minority stakeholder in Microsoft. Even after the sale, he still holds more than 726 million shares in Microsoft, which in total are worth about $17 billion. Some executives routinely divest large numbers of shares in their companies for diversification or tax purposes.
Gates' selloff is well timed. Microsoft shares recently broke the $24 mark for the first time in several months.
The shares received a boost in July when the software maker announced a wide ranging search partnership with Web portal Yahoo. Under the deal, Microsoft will extend its Bing search engine to all of Yahoo's Internet properties, including the Yahoo.com home page. Yahoo, for its part, will handle strategic account sales for its sites and for Microsoft's.
Microsoft and Yahoo officials have said it could take up to two years to fully implement the agreement, which remains subject to regulatory approval.
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