Facebook Inc. (FB) Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg sold about $91 million worth of shares in the social network after the stock topped its $38 initial public offering price for the first time since May 2012.
Sandberg sold 2.37 million Facebook shares on Aug. 7, two days after Facebook closed at a record high of $39.19, according to a regulatory filing. With the latest sale she has sold more than 7 million shares, or about 12 percent of her total, since the IPO. The holdings include unvested restricted stock units as of end-2012 and options.
“There’s no denying that she has tremendous amounts of equity skin in the game,” said David Larcker, a professor of accounting at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in Stanford, California. “I think it’s prudent for diversification and other kind of purposes to take advantage of the value that she has, and put it into alternative things.”
Facebook stock has surged 44 percent this year, buoyed by the company’s increasing success in generating revenue from advertising on mobile devices. After one of the worst IPOs in a decade, the world’s largest social network has focused on ads for smartphones and tablets, and is now projected to reach sales of more than $16 billion by 2017. The shares fell less than 1 percent to $38.22 at the close in New York today.
Sandberg, who joined Facebook in 2008, has periodically sold stock in the Menlo Park, California-based company since the IPO last year.
Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Facebook, declined to comment.
In the past year, Sandberg has sold a total of 7.3 million shares for a total value of $221.5 million, according to InsiderScore.com, which monitors insider transactions. All of the sales were completed under trading regulations that allow executives to cash out a portion of their holdings when stocks reach predetermined prices.
Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg pledged in September 2012 that he wouldn’t sell shares for at least a year.
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