Satya Nadella sells half of her Microsoft shares, weeks before the state imposes capital gains tax

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in 2015. (File photo GeekWire.)

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sold half of his stake in the company in a series of transactions last week, divesting about 840,000 shares for more than $285 million, according to a prescribed record.

Nadella sold the stock “for reasons of personal financial planning and diversification,” the Redmond-based company said in a statement Monday afternoon. “He is committed to the continued success of the company, and his holdings significantly exceed the holding requirements set forth by the Microsoft Board of Directors.”

It existed before Washington state did it a debate new capital gains tax. Passed by lawmakers in April, it primarily targets stock sales and business ownership with a 7% tax on long-term capital gains over $250,000.

The first such tax in state history, it will go into effect on January 1, 2022.

Microsoft’s statement about Nadella’s stock sale did not mention whether the impending tax bill would be factored into Nadella’s personal financial plan. A report by the Wall Street Journal Citation analysts who pointed out a possible connection.

Washington State’s new capital gains tax is estimated to raise about $550 million annually starting in fiscal year 2023. Much of the money is projected to go toward early education and child care.

The company’s shares closed up more than 2% on Monday at $336.63. Microsoft stock was trading around $36.35 when Nadella became CEO in February 2014, one-tenth of its current value.

Nadella sold shares on November 22 and 23 at an average price of $334 to more than $349, according to Microsoft Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

Microsoft hold an annual general meeting of shareholders Tuesday morning.

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