Google’s Schmidt Adopts Plan to Sell as Much as 42% of Shares

Google Inc. Chairman Eric Schmidt is adopting a plan to sell as many as 3.2 million shares in the operator of the world’s most popular search engine.

The planned share sales, worth about $2.5 billion, are for Schmidt’s individual asset diversification and liquidity, Mountain View, California-based Google said in a filing yesterday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The plan represents 42 percent of Schmidt’s share holdings. He had 7.6 million Class A and B shares as of Dec. 31, and has also adopted separate share sale plans for his investment companies.

“This is a routine diversification of assets and Eric remains completely committed to Google,” Niki Fenwick, a spokeswoman for Google, said in an e-mail.

Sales may take place over a maximum period of a year, the filing said. Google rose 1.5 percent to $785.37 at yesterday’s close in New York, leaving them up 11 percent this year.

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