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Ker-ching! Eric Schmidt to sell almost half his Google stock

Google's executive chairman is cashing in, selling 42 per cent of his stock, worth around £1.6 billion.

Looks like quite a pay day for Eric Schmidt. The Google executive chairman is selling 42 per cent of his stock in the Android-maker, netting himself a cool $2.51 billion (£1.6 billion), Reuters reports.

Schmidt currently owns 2.3 per cent of Google, but will offload about 3.2 million of his 7.6 million shares. Google has refused to say why Schmidt is selling now. Maybe he needs a new wardrobe?

Last February he dropped around $1.5 billion worth, so who knows, he could be making it an annual thing. He can spread the sales of the shares out over a year, to lessen the impact it'll have on Google's market standing.

Analysts say it doesn't signal a lack of confidence in the business. "I'd be more worried if the current CEO or CFO sold a lot of their stake," Wedbush Securities analyst James Dix told Reuters.

Others think it shows Schmidt could play a smaller role in Google in the future. "My speculation is that Eric's relationship with Google is evolving," Needham & Co analyst Kerry Rice told Reuters. "I would assume that as he decides he wants to diversify away from Google -- both his career and financially -- he's got ideas of what he would like to do with some of his funds."

When Schmidt served as CEO, he was paid just $1 a year, but received quite a lot of stock instead. His salary was upped to $1.25 million a year when he stepped down and became executive chairman. Forbes estimates Schmidt is worth $7.5 billion, which would buy him a Nexus 4 or two.

Schmidt has a book coming out soon, in which he doesn't pull any punches. In it, he condemns China as a tech menace and hacker, as well as "the world's most active and enthusiastic filterer of information."

What would you do with all that cash? Let me know in the comments, or on Facebook.

Image credit: Google