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Schmidt to Sell Google Stake Worth $2.5 Billion

Please find original Article here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324590904578292541060345994.html

By SCOTT THURM

Google Inc. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt plans to sell stock valued at $2.5 billion over the next year as part of a trading plan that will cut his stake in the Internet firm by more than 40%.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company said in a regulatory filing on Friday that Mr. Schmidt plans to sell 3.2 million shares of stock over the next year. Mr. Schmidt owned 7.6 million shares of Google as of Dec. 31, according to the filing. At Friday’s closing price of $785.37, the shares being sold would have a value of $2.5 billion.

ReutersGoogle Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt plans to sell 40% of his holdings in the firm over the next year.

Google added Mr. Schmidt is selling the shares “as part of his long-term strategy for individual asset diversification and liquidity.”

“This is a routine diversification of assets and Eric remains completely committed to Google,” a Google spokeswoman said in an email.

The 57-year-old Mr. Schmidt, who joined Google as chief executive in 2001 from Novell Inc., used a similar plan to sell roughly 1.8 million Google shares, valued at $1.2 billion, over the past year, according to InsiderInsights.com. If he completes the newly planned sales, Mr. Schmidt will have reduced his stake in Google by more than half over two years.

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If he sells the shares, Mr. Schmidt would still own 1.3% of Google, down from 2.3% as of Dec. 31, 2012. He would control 5% of Google’s voting power, since some of his shares have additional voting power.

Before last year, Mr. Schmidt rarely sold any of his Google shares. From 2008 through 2010, he didn’t sell any.

Forbes magazine in September ranked Mr. Schmidt the 45th-richest American, with a net worth of $7.5 billion. He stepped down as CEO in April 2011 and became Google’s executive chairman.

Google shares have risen 29% over the past year, giving the company a market value of $259 billion.

Mr. Schmidt has written a book, “The New Digital Age,” which is to be published by Random House in April. In January, he traveled to North Korea, where, he later said, he urged leaders of the isolated country to open Internet access to boost the economy.

Write to Scott Thurm at scott.thurm@wsj.com

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