friday, 5 december of 2014

Twitter co-founder to sell $ 28.7 million shares

Evan Williams , a Twitter Inc. founder and its biggest individual shareholder, has sold some of his stock in the social-media company for the first time.

Mr. Williams, who sits on Twitter’s board, sold more than 719,000 shares this week at prices from $39.83 to $40 a share, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing late Wednesday. The sales amounted to roughly $28.7 million.

Including a stock gift of nearly 377,000 shares, Mr. Williams shed about 1.1 million shares this week, or about 2% of his stake in Twitter. As of late March, he owned 55.7 million shares, nearly 9.5% of the company’s total shares.

The 42-year-old entrepreneur’s remaining Twitter shares are worth $2.3 billion.

The sales come at a sensitive time for the San Francisco-based company and its stock-market position. Twitter’s share price has been under pressure as investors worry about a slowdown in the company’s user growth and turnover of key managers.

The stock rose 1.5% to $41.74 on Friday, but remains off about 35% this year. Twitter first sold shares to the public a year ago at $26 apiece.

A Twitter representative said Mr. Williams sold the stock under a prearranged stock-trading plan set 90 days ago. This type of stock-trading arrangement allows executives and directors to specify times of the year or stock prices at which they intend to buy or sell shares of their own companies.

Executives don’t have to disclose details of how many shares they ultimately intend to sell or under what circumstances.

Twitter Chief Executive Dick Costolo and Jack Dorsey, the company’s chairman and co-founder, also recently started selling company shares under prearranged stock-trading plans. Mr. Costolo has sold $11.6 million in Twitter shares this month, while Mr. Dorsey sold $2.1 million worth of stock two weeks ago.

The Twitter spokeswoman said the two men also entered into their stock-trading plans 90 days ago. She said Mr. Costolo’s sales “help him diversify his investments over time.”

In April, the three said they had “no current plans” to sell shares in the company, according to a Twitter regulatory filing at the time. The filing also indicated that they could sell Twitter shares only as part of a prearranged stock-trading plan.

At that point, Twitter executives were about to be permitted to sell their company stock for the first time, after the six-month anniversary of the company’s initial public offering. Twitter’s stock price came under pressure then as investors fretted that a rush of company insiders would sell stock.

(Published by The Wall Street Journal - November 28, 2014)

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