Mark Zuckerberg Halts Stock Sales as Facebook Shares Tumble

Mark Zuckerberg Halts Stock Sales as Facebook Shares Tumble

Mark Zuckerberg’s multibillion-dollar stock sale ground to a halt in the final months of 2018.

The Facebook co-founder didn’t sell a single share in the fourth quarter, when the social media company’s stock tumbled 20 percent amid a broader market rout. It’s the first quarter in more than two years he’s refrained from doing so, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Zuckerberg, 34, said in September 2017 that he would unload 35 million to 75 million Facebook shares over the following 18 months as part of a pledge to give away almost all of his fortune during his lifetime. Since then, he’s sold about 30.4 million shares worth roughly $5.6 billion (roughly Rs. 39,000 crores).

The transactions have been scheduled in advance with a so-called 10b5-1 trading plan, which can include parameters such as price or volume limits. Vanessa Chan, a spokeswoman for the Menlo Park, California-based company, declined to comment.

Facebook shares have dropped about 38 percent from a record $218.62 (roughly Rs. 15,200) on July 25 as the firm faced mounting criticism over its handling of user data and policing of content. Those issues will take years to fix, Zuckerberg has said. The decline shaved $32.7 billion from his net worth as of Wednesday’s close, dropping him to seventh on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a listing of the world’s richest people.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will be a limited liability company controlled by the social media magnate and his wife, Priscilla, 33, rather than a charitable trust. That means they will both be able to make philanthropic investments and back political causes. The entity aims to decrease inequality and build technology to spur change, partly through investments in health and education.

In total, senior executives and directors of Facebook, Amazon.com, Netflix, and Google parent Alphabet sold about $7.1 billion of stock last year, the most since 2016, when they disposed of $10.7 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That excludes shares that were gifted or sold to cover taxes.