Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is the latest in a long line of high powered executives to dump some company stock. A regulatory filing from Friday showed that she sold more than $26 million worth of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) stock in two blocks last Wednesday. Trading on shares of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) was largely unaffected by Sandberg’s sell-off. Shares increased by almost 2 percent in afternoon trades today.
So far Sandburg has sold more than 1.65 million shares for a total value of almost $41.5 million. To put this latest sell-off into perspective, Sandberg has a mere 18.7 million shares of it left, and VentureBeat reports that it was actually triggered automatically when the price of the company’s shares reached a certain amount. This indicates that that the sale doesn’t have much to do with what Sandburg thinks of her company’s stock. Mashable reports that Sandberg has been unloading shares of her company’s stock since November began, including the donation of more than 400,000 shares earlier this month.
BizJournals speculates that the recent sell-offs by Sandberg and other high powered executives in the tech industry has more to do with the fiscal cliff rather than what the executives think of their own companies. Numerous Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) executives have also sold off most of their company stock.
At this point we don’t have a complete picture of what the fiscal cliff will do to the economy, but we do know that it brings a package of tax increases that many executives could be trying to avoid by selling off assets before the cliff hits. For example, the capital gains tax rate now sits at 15 percent, but it is expected to increase Jan. 1. Some believe the rate could go up to more than 40 percent for those in the highest tax bracket.