Facebook co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is seeking to sell close to a fifth of his shares of the company by 2019, Bloomberg reported earlier this month, citing an unspecified regulatory filing. The head of the social media giant is planning to offload 18% of his Facebook stock within the next 18 months with the goal of further funding his philanthropic endeavors channeled through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative which he manages alongside his wife Priscilla Chan. The move will still allow Mr. Zuckerberg to retain the voting control of the company even without issuing a special class of shares with no voting rights, with that scenario being his original plan which some Facebook investors challenged in recent times by filing for litigation. The Menlo Park, California-based tech giant officially scrapped the stock restructuring plan on Friday, shortly before the case was set to go to trial starting with Mr. Zuckerberg’s testimony in a competent court in Delaware.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was established in late 2015 with a pledge from Mr. Zuckerberg and Mrs. Chan to donate 99 percent of their Facebook stock to its causes during their lifetimes. The organization itself is managed as a limited liability company and not a non-profit or private foundation, allowing Mr. Zuckerberg to retain the control of Facebook even as he donates his stock to the initiative. In the next year and a half, Facebook CEO will sell between 35 and 75 million of his shares, with Facebook’s closing Friday performance valuing the latter figure at approximately $12.8 billion. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative that’s set to be the main benefactor of the move continues to invest in numerous fields of science and research, with its ultimate goal being promoting equality and advancing human potential, according to its official website. Its first acquisition was concluded in early 2017 when the company purchased AI startup Meta which created a scientific search engine for an undisclosed sum.
Mr. Zuckerberg’s efforts to sell some of his Facebook shares may continue before the end of the year, with the company itself being set to disclose its consolidated financial report for the third quarter of 2017 in just over a month. The social media giant remains one of the most profitable firms in the industry, having earned $3.89 billion with $9.32 billion in revenue over a three-month period ending June 30.