The Co-founder and former CEO of Twitter is selling 30 percent of his shares in the company, claiming to be dumping the shares for “personal reasons.”
Evan Williams is Twitter’s single largest individual shareholder and has, in his own words, “the vast majority of my assets [in] the form of Twitter stock,” and “will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future.” Selling right now “actually pains him,” but “is all about personal context, not company context.” Williams will use the stock in the interest of continuing to “invest a lot in things [he cares] about.” These have historically included his venture fund Obvious Ventures, philanthropy, and political donations.
According to a statement from Twitter:
Evan Williams recently entered into a pre-arranged 10b5-1 stock trading plan as part of his continued efforts to diversify his financial positions and focus on his charitable organization and other endeavors. Ev, a co-founder of Twitter and member of the Board since 2007, has been a champion of Twitter since Day 1 and intends to maintain a significant ownership position in the company. The plan is not expected to result in the sale of more than 30% of Ev’s holdings.
It’s an effort to deny conclusions that their biggest single shareholder has given the network a vote of no confidence in the wake of continuous internal turnover at the highest levels, as well as its dire financial straits. Despite posing the move as an effort to do things that Williams “likes” to do, the fact is that what he’s doing is moving his assets out of Twitter and into places where he feels they’ll be better utilized. PR spin aside, it’s another blow to a company already reeling against the ropes. It also represents a significant loss of influence for Williams, who is, in essence, giving up a large portion of his vote in how Twitter continues to function.
For now, investors do not seem unduly troubled by the news; the stock was only down about 1 percent after the announcement. Evan Williams is currently the CEO of Medium, the platform on which his personal announcement about the sale was posted.
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