Why did Jeff Bezos sell €3.7bn of his Amazon stock over the past week?

Jeff Bezos arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, March 12, 2023
Jeff Bezos arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, March 12, 2023 Copyright Evan Agostini/Invision
Copyright Evan Agostini/Invision
By Angela Barnes
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Euronews takes a closer look at why Jeff Bezos might have opted to sell €3.7bn ($4bn) of his Amazon stock over the past week.


Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, has not explained why he has opted to sell 24 million shares in the company he started, worth around $4bn (€3.7bn), although the selling plan was on the agenda.

Regulatory filings confirmed the amounts that the billionaire has offloaded in recent days - and whilst he is yet to comment on the transactions, Amazon said in February that Bezos was planning to sell 50 million shares in the company via Morgan Stanley by the end of January 2025.

A good time to cash in?

Amazon's share price closed down 2.15% on 13 February in the US and its stocks were up 0.85% at $170.08 on Wednesday morning, according to pre-market estimates. 

However, over the past 12 months, the company's stock has gained more than 50%, bringing its price up substantially - and close to its all-time high.

Subsequently, its market capitalisation has reached $1.75 trillion. 

The company also recently delighted investors with its recent fourth-quarter financial results.

It reported a 14% surge in net sales to $170 billion (€156.9 billion), up from $149.2 billion (€137.6 billion) on the previous year's quarter, surpassing the $166 billion (€153.1 billion) market estimate.

The retail giant also reported a rise in net income to $10.6 billion (€9.78 billion), with an EPS of $1.00, which exceeded analysts' predictions of $0.79.

"It's been a banner quarter and a testament to our team's hard work, marking a record holiday season and capping off a strong year for Amazon," Andy Jassy, Amazon's CEO, stated.

Amazon also announced the launch of Rufus, a cutting-edge generative AI-powered shopping assistant, aiming to enhance the customer shopping experience. 

Bezos has not sold stock since 2021, according to Bloomberg. However, he will still be the largest shareholder, with a stake of about 9%, according to data from S&P Capital IQ Indicates via the Financial Times.

Avoiding capital gains tax?

Jeff Bezos recently moved to Miami in Florida from Washington in the US - and as noted by accountancy firm CPA Practice Advisor, its a move that could have saved him around $600 million due to the 7% charge in his former state.

"Now that he lives in Florida, he has managed to avoid this tax. If he completes his proposed sale of all 50 million shares, he could end up saving nearly $600 million," CPA said.

However, Bezos said in November in an Instagram post that the reason he was moving back to Miami was to be closer to his family.

"My parents have always been my biggest supporters. They recently moved back to Miami, the place we lived when I was younger (Miami Palmetto High class of ’82 — GO Panthers!) I want to be close to my parents, and Lauren and I love Miami," he said.

His relocation came two and a half years after he stepped down as the chief executive of Amazon.

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