Solar energy powerhouse First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) announced this morning that Lukas Walton, grandson of Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) founder Sam Walton, is selling nearly 8.6 million shares of its stock (about 8.2% of the company’s outstanding shares) for $69 per share for a total of nearly $600 million. The sale is a registered secondary offering of First Solar stock, and the company will not receive any proceeds from the sale.
In addition to the shares being sold, First Solar has registered an equal number of shares that Walton plans to donate over time to “various charitable organizations focused on urgent issues facing society and the environment, including relief efforts related to the COVID-10 pandemic.”
Following the sale and including the planned donations, Walton’s stake in the company will be reduced to 4.9% (approximately 5.2 million shares). First Solar CEO Mark Widmar noted that Lukas Walton’s father, John Walton, invested in the company before its 2006 initial public offering at $20 per share.
First Solar’s shares closed at $71.96 on Wednesday and dropped by around 10% in early trading Thursday. As of Wednesday’s close, First Solar’s stock traded up by nearly 16% over the past 12 months.
According to the filing, Walton intends to use the proceeds “to provide funds for new impact investments across a variety of environmental and social causes.” Widmar commented, “By reinvesting the sale proceeds from the shares into new ventures focused on some of the most pressing issues facing the world today,” Lukas continues the commitment made by his father nearly two decades ago. John Walton died in an ultralight plane crash in Jackson, Wyoming, in 2005.
In 2015, Bloomberg News reported that Lukas Walton inherited a third of his father’s estimated $17 billion estate. According to Forbes, Lukas’s fortune now totals $15.9 billion.
First Solar traded down more than 11% to $63.85 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $28.47 to $81.87. The stock’s 12-month price target is $68.74.