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Yahoo co-founder sells shares

David Filo, the Web portal's co-founder and largest individual shareholder, sells company stock for the first time, pulling in around $3 million before taxes and fees.

Jim Hu Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Jim Hu
covers home broadband services and the Net's portal giants.
Jim Hu
2 min read
David Filo, Yahoo's co-founder and largest individual shareholder, sold company stock for the first time last week, netting around $3 million before taxes and fees.

Filo, who founded Yahoo in 1994 with Stanford University friend Jerry Yang, sold 98,812 shares for an average of $30.20 a share. The sale amounted to less than 1 percent of his holdings, leaving him with 7.7 percent of the company's outstanding shares.

Because Filo was granted shares as a company founder, the $3 million in proceeds came at no cost, Yahoo spokeswoman Joanna Stevens said. She declined to comment on Filo's planned use of the proceeds.

When asked whether the sale signaled Filo's intention to leave his daily operational role in the company, Stevens said, "We are not aware of any plans."

Unlike his counterpart Yang, Filo resisted selling his stake even during boom times when Yahoo traded for more than $200 a share. Media shy and intensely private, Filo is considered to be the brain of the company with a devoted following among the company's engineers.

Yang, meanwhile, regularly sells stock and has many of his shares managed by a "blind trust," which sells in regular intervals.

Filo joins a pack of top executives who have profited from Yahoo's recent 52-week highs. Last week, Yahoo CEO Terry Semel sold shares for the first time since taking the helm in May 2001, pulling in about $11 million in profits before taxes and broker fees.

Other executives who recently sold stock include Chief Operating Officer Daniel Rosensweig; Chief Financial Officer Susan Decker; Chief Technical Officer Farzad Nazem; Executive Vice President Gregory Coleman; secretary Jonathan Sobel; and senior vice presidents Jeffrey Weiner, Toby Coppel, Geoffrey Ralston, Steve Boom and James Brock.

Yahoo shares have surged in recent weeks due to signs of a recovery in online advertising and the posting of the company's fifth consecutive profitable quarter. Much of Yahoo's profits have stemmed from its deal with commercial search provider Overture Services, which accounted for 19 percent of the company's revenue during the first quarter.

Yahoo last week said it plans to acquire Overture for about $1.63 billion in cash and stock.

Despite the profitable quarter, Wall Street analysts have expressed concern that its core business of online advertising remains stagnant. Analysts also raised flags that Yahoo only met, rather than beat, expectations.