Bezos sells $4 billion of Amazon stock in four trading days

(Bloomberg) — Jeff Bezos didn't have to wait long to start cashing in on Amazon.com Inc.'s rise. To start the year.

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Less than two weeks after revealing a plan to divest up to 50 million shares of the company he founded, Bezos sold 24 million shares worth more than $4 billion. The sales, disclosed in regulatory filings, took place over just four trading days. The second richest person in the world has not previously sold his shares since 2021.

Bezos did not explain why he would sell now, but the timing of his trading plan may provide a clue. He announced on November 2 that he was moving to Miami from the Seattle area. He adopted the so-called 10(b)5-1 plan on November 8.

Washington state has a 7% capital gains tax in 2022 — something Florida doesn't have — meaning Bezos' move will likely save him $288 million so far. Since Bezos only bought one share of Amazon, it's safe to assume he's owned the stock since the company's founding, so almost all of its value would be considered capital gains.

Amazon shares were up 13% this year through Monday's close, the last day Bezos sold shares, according to the filing. It fell 2.2% to $168.64 on Tuesday.

Spokespeople for Amazon and Bezos declined to comment.

The $288 million tax bill would be a big windfall for Washington, which collected $855 million in capital gains tax last year, more than half of which came from just 10 people, according to state officials.

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The tax has received some pushback in the state. Billionaire Ken Fisher said in March that he would move his company from Washington to Texas, criticizing the tax and the court decision that upheld it. The ballot initiative could make its way to voters in November who seek to repeal the tax.

–With assistance from Spencer Soper.

(Adds that Bezos' spokesman declined to comment in the sixth paragraph)

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