Feeds

Who's top Microsoft shareholder? Uh oh, it's STEVE BALLMER

Sweaty ex-CEO now owns more shares than Bill Gates

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

When former Microsoft CEO and current board member Steve Ballmer said he was "very interested" in the company's future, he wasn't kidding. As of Wednesday, Ballmer became Redmond's largest individual shareholder, with a stake even greater than that of founder Bill Gates.

The switcheroo wasn't because Ballmer acquired new shares, but because Gates sold some of his. According to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday, Gates has unloaded 4,600,000 shares, worth a total of around $185.6m at the time they sold.

That leaves the world's perennially richest man with 330,141,164 shares of Microsoft stock, a hoard worth $13.1bn as of Friday's closing bell on Wall Street.

Ballmer, on the other hand, has been hanging onto his shares for the last few years. SEC records show that the last time he sold any was in 2010, a transaction that left him with 333,252,990 shares, which would have been worth $13.2bn at Friday's price.

Neither man holds the largest single stake in the company. That honor goes to investment fund the Vanguard group, with 372,597,444 shares now valued at $14.8bn. The State Street Corporation also owned 343,007,487 shares ($13.6bn) as of December 31, Morningstar reports. But Ballmer and then Gates are next on the list.

And with 3.1 million more Microsoft shares in his portfolio than Gates, for the first time Ballmer technically has more influence as a shareholder of the company than does Gates – although the advantage is slight, to say the least. While Gates was once chairman of Microsoft's board, he ceded that role to Microsoft board member and former Symantec CEO John Thompson in February, putting himself on equal footing with Ballmer in the boardroom.

But Gates now has a more hands-on role at Microsoft than Ballmer does, having taken a new position at the company as a "technology adviser" to freshly minted CEO Satya Nadella.

Ballmer, by comparison, claims to no longer have any direct involvement with Redmond's operations. In March, he told a group of students at Oxford University's Saïd Business School, "As a board member, you're a board member. You govern; you don't lead. I speak about our company today historically because I'm a former CEO."

With a personal stake in the company worth approximately 4 per cent of its value, however, you can bet Ballmer will continue to follow Microsoft's progress with a keen eye. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.