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WhatsApp's Jan Koum Sold $274 Million in Facebook Stock Last Week

Jan Koum has more money than you do. Way more.

Asa Mathat

While you were enjoying turkey and stuffing last week, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum got paaaaaid.

Koum, who sold his messaging startup to Facebook for $19 billion back in early 2014, sold more than $274 million worth of Facebook stock last week in numerous transactions, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Koum used a Rule 10b5-1 trading plan to sell more than 2.5 million shares, which are trading near an all-time high right now. The plan allows company executives to set a trading date well in advance to alleviate any issues of insider trading. It can also be designed to execute trades when the stock hits a certain price at a certain time, or allow the owners to designate a broker to buy or sell as they see fit.

Koum isn’t the only Facebook stockholder who cashed in this month (although he was the only one we noticed selling tons of stock over an otherwise quiet holiday week). Longtime board member and early investor Marc Andreessen sold 73 percent of his stake in the company over a one-week period earlier this month. The sale totaled roughly $160 million.

But Koum’s payday makes Andreessen’s look pretty tiny, especially when you consider this: The $274 million Koum sold last week was just under 4 percent of his total holdings. That means he still owns about $7 billion in Facebook stock. Plus, he’s due a lot more vested Facebook stock over the next few years, so he’ll have plenty more to sell.

A Facebook spokesperson didn’t provide any particular reason for Koum’s big sale. It may just be another week in Silicon Valley!

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