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Schmidt to sell off $2.5b of Google shares

Washington - Google's Chairman Eric Schmidt plans to sell 3.2 million “A” shares, currently worth $2.5 billion, over the next year, Google said on Friday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The sale amounts to 42 percent of Schmidt's 7.6 million Class A and Class B shares in the company, a 2.3 percent stake in the company, but 8.2 percent of voting power.

The group includes former Google chief Eric Schmidt (pictured), Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, Oxford Internet Institute ethics professor Luciano Floridi, Leuven University law school director Peggy Valcke, former Spanish data protection agency director Jose Luis Pinar and UN envoy on freedom of expression Frank La Rue. Credit: AP

The sale is part of a pre-arranged trading plan for Schmidt's “long-term strategy for individual asset diversification and liquidity,” according to the filing.

“Using this trading plan, Eric can diversify his investment portfolio and can spread stock trades out over a period of one year to reduce market impact.”

Google's share price climbed 1.5 percent Friday to a new all-time record of $785.37, putting the value of the shares Schmidt will sell at $2.51 billion.

In its September 2012 billionaires list - when Google shares crossed the $700 line for the first time - Forbes ranked Schmidt 138th in the world, with his fortune worth $7.5 billion. - Sapa-AFP

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