Jeff Bezos Sells $2.5B Amazon Shares As He Exits CEO Role

Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos continues to shrink his stake in the e-commerce powerhouse as he prepares to step back from active duty at the company to focus on other businesses.

Bezos sold 0.74 million Amazon shares this week in a series of transactions, according to SEC filings. The transactions together generated approximately $2.5 billion. The sales were made at an average selling price of $3,363.80 per share. 

According to a Reuters report in 2017, Bezos revealed that he was selling his Amazon shares to fund his space exploration startup, Blue Origin. He said he would be selling about $1 billion worth of Amazon stock each year for the space investment. The latest sale is likely tied to the Blue Origin project.

The billionaire will step down as Amazon CEO before the end of 2021. Andy Jassy, currently head of the company’s cloud computing business, will replace him. (See Amazon stock analysis on TipRanks)

The transition should allow Bezos more time to focus on building Blue Origin, which is targeting the space tourism market. It has opened an auction for seats on its first commercial space flight planned for July 20. 

“We named our launch vehicle after Alan Shepard to honor his historic flight,” Blue Origin said in a statement announcing the opening of the ticket auction.

The money made from ticket sales will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, to inspire young people to pursue careers in science and technology and stir up interest in space.

Needham analyst Laura Martin reiterated the Buy rating and raised the price target to $4,150 from $3,700 on Amazon stock. Martin’s new price target implies 26.9% upside potential from current levels.

Commenting on Amazon’s 1Q earnings results, Martin stated “Services revs are a more important upside value driver for AMZN shareholders than Products”.

Consensus among analysts on Wall Street is a Strong Buy based on 32 unanimous Buy ratings. The average analyst price target of $4,289.03 implies 31.14% upside potential to the current price.

AMZN scores a 9 out of 10 on TipRanks’ Smart Score rating system, implying it is likely to outperform the market.

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