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Yahoo! and Google's top brass cash in

Stock warning - snouts in the trough

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Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel took home $230m from the result of stock sales last year, one of the largest ever hauls for a company executive, a SEC filing reveals. Semel holds another 300 million in Yahoo equity. While mere mortals are usually restricted by selling chunks of options over a four-year period, most of Semel's equity is readily convertible.

Unselfishly, Semel didn't ask for a pay rise. The former Warner Brothers chairman takes home $600,000 a year in salary.

Meanwhile Google's executive triumvirate of Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt have pocketed over half a billion dollars from stock sales since the company went public.

What's the catch?

Last month one of Google's most enthusiastic boosters on Wall Street downgraded estimates for both Google and Yahoo!, warning that the text ad boom was slowing to a near halt. RBC's Jordan Rohan predicts a double digit fall in the share price which he describes as a "significant negative inflection point".

Best to cash in while the stock's hot. If you can. ®

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