Ballmer sells $1.2 billion in stock

Microsoft's chief executive sells nearly $1.2 billion worth of stock of the world's largest software maker. He says he's "as committed to Microsoft as ever."

Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer recently sold nearly $1.2 billion worth of stock of the world's largest software maker, according to regulatory filings on Tuesday.

Ballmer, 47, said the share sale, his first in 12 years, was aimed at diversifying his financial assets, according to a statement issued by Microsoft on Friday.

According to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Ballmer sold 49.32 million shares of Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft from May 21 to May 23, for a total of $1.19 billion.

Each share sold for between $23.89 and $24.67.

"Even though this is a personal financial matter, I want to be clear about this to avoid any confusion," Ballmer said in Friday's statement. "I remain excited about the potential for our technology to change people's lives, and I remain as committed to Microsoft as ever."

Ballmer is Microsoft's second-largest shareholder from the management ranks, behind Chairman Bill Gates.

According to the latest SEC filing, Ballmer still holds 421,519,622 shares in Microsoft after last week's sale, which is worth $10.45 billion, based on Microsoft's closing price of $24.79 on Tuesday.

Executives at Microsoft regularly sell shares of the world's largest software company. In February, for instance, Gates sold $96 million worth of stock. In March he sold another 1.9 million shares, leaving his stake at 1.2 billion shares.

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