Steven P. Jobs, co-founder and former chairman of Apple Computer, has told the Securities and Exchange Commission that he intends to sell another 1 million shares of Apple stock. At current prices, that would raise about $18 million.
Jobs, who resigned as chairman of Apple in September in the midst of a bitter dispute, is raising money for a new computer venture. He already has sold 1.25 million shares and realized $19.4 million since July 23, according to SEC records.
Had he remained a principal at the company, Jobs would have been restrained by SEC insider-trading rules from selling any additional stock until early next year, according to Michael Murphy, editor of the California Technology Stock Letter. But his resignation removed the restrictions.
Murphy said the restriction probably wouldn't have impeded Jobs' new venture anyway. He said Jobs already has plenty of money to proceed with the development of a high-powered, $3,000 desk-top computer for use by academic researchers.
The 30-year-old Jobs was Apple's largest single stockholder, with about 10% of 61.8 million shares outstanding. But his past and planned sales apparently would drop his holdings below 4 million shares.
In the Cupertino, Calif.-based company's latest proxy statement, Vice Chairman A. C. Markkula Jr. was listed as the owner of 5.5 million shares. Neither man's exact current holdings are known.
Jobs' falling out with the personal computer firm began in May when a restructuring stripped him of power. He then angered the board with plans for the new venture, called Next Inc., which would allegedly compete with Apple, and he raided the company of five executives.
Apple has since sued Jobs for $5 million, accusing him of breaching his fiduciary responsibilities as chairman by developing plans for his new company. The suit is pending in Superior Court in Santa Clara County.
Jobs' net worth isn't known, but the decline in the computer industry that has created Apple's severe financial troubles has depressed the value of its stock to below the $20 per share that it fetched on the day the firm went public in 1980. It peaked at nearly $64 per share in early 1983. On the stock that he has sold since July, Jobs realized an average of $15.54 per share, SEC records show.
Analyst Murphy said Jobs will probably sell off all of his Apple holdings, if only to find a better investment.