Jeff Bezos, founder, chairman and CEO of Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is taking some extra cash out of the company. This may just be spending change for billionaires but this is empire-making money for the rest of us. We would advise our readers to get used to seeing more and more high dollar stock sale transactions before the year-end to lock in at the low 15% capital gain tax rate before taxes rise in 2013.
The sale was called a planned share sale under one of the existing 10b5-1 Plan filings, but we would expect to see more and more of these sales. Between November 29 and November 30 (2012) Mr. Bezos sold some 790,102 shares at a volume weighted average of $250.02 per share. The end result: $197,543,988 take-home for Mr. Bezos.
Before you think that we are basking all insiders for selling shares, we are not. It actually makes good financial sense when you think about the possibility (and probability) that tax rates through the end of December are lower than they ever will be again. Yes, really. And as far as whether or not Bezos is liquidating, this is not even 1% of his holdings. The filings show that Bezos still has more than 87.1 million shares of Amazon.com stock.
If Bezos were able to unload his entire Amazon.com stake today, his pretax sale would come in at rough $21.77 billion. Almost $200 million is just a drop in the bucket for him.
Get ready for more insider share sales. With the fiscal cliff looking like more and more of a reality there is one other consideration. If insiders wait to sell after the end of December, they are taking more risk than just taxes. They could be selling shares into a recession as tax hikes meet spending cuts.
JON C. OGG