Bill Gates might lose his title as largest Microsoft shareholder in 2014

A few days ago, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates was named once again as the richest man in the world by Bloomberg. According to their Billionaires Index, his net worth went up by $15.8 billion in 2013, bringing his total fortune to a whopping $78.5 billion.

Part of the reason for that increase was that shares of Microsoft's stock also went much higher in 2013. Gates owns about 4.5 percent of the company and his shares are currently worth about $13.2 billion. He has remained the largest single shareholder of Microsoft since it was founded. 

However, Gates has also been slowly selling off his stock options in Microsoft over the years. Computerworld notes that, according to filings from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, he has sold about 80 million shares per year for the past 10 years. If Gates continues to sell off his stock at that rate, he will become Microsoft's second largest shareholder, behind current CEO Steve Ballmer, sometime in mid-2014.

Ballmer announced plans to retire as the company's leader several months ago and we are still awaiting word on who will be his successor. However, Ballmer has already hinted he has no plans to divest himself of his Microsoft stock. In his final annual letter to the company's shareholders a few months ago, Ballmer said he "treasures his Microsoft stock."

Source: Computerworld | Image via Microsoft

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