Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos unloaded $2 billion worth of the e-commerce giant’s stock last week, but that’s not a signal that investors should join him in selling.
Bezos, currently the company’s executive chair, dumped nearly 12 million Amazon shares
at an average price just north of $170 in a series of transactions made Wednesday and Thursday. The sales, which were disclosed in a Friday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, were his first since he unloaded 60 million shares in 2021.
More selling could be on the way, said VerityData research vice president Ben Silverman, as Bezos recently adopted a new trading plan that set him up to sell as many as 50 million shares by the end of January 2025. The latest disposal of 12 million shares came as part of that 10b5-1 plan, which was set up to trigger sales under certain predetermined conditions.
The trading plan mandated a 90-day cooling-off period after it was enacted, according to Silverman, and Bezos’ sales last week began the day that window expired.
“Bezos usually concentrates his activity over several days as opposed to engaging in weekly or monthly sales, thus we expect more sales in the near term,” Silverman wrote in a recent report.
The stock was off 1.3% in Monday afternoon trading.
See also: Nvidia is now worth more than Amazon as its stock continues red-hot surge
Amazon shares are trading about 8% below their record high achieved in July 2021, and Silverman noted that Bezos’ latest sales came at the highest price he has ever dumped stock at, after adjusting for stock splits.
Investors sometimes look at stock sales by executives or board members, even those done through trading plans, as signs that the insider is making a valuation call. But Silverman noted that Bezos’ prior selling moves “have not been good predictors” of Amazon’s stock performance.
While Bezos held off on selling stock in 2022 and 2023, Silverman noted that he did gift 14.6 million shares to non-profit organizations since he last made a stock sale in November 2021. The most recent gifts were made in November 2023, based on a review of public Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
Bezos continues to own more than $168 billion worth of Amazon shares based on current prices.
Amazon declined to comment on the latest stock sales.