The last six months have seen an incredible run for US stocks. The S&P 500 has risen 28 percent in that time, setting new monthly highs, with investors optimistic about a return to normalcy as more Americans receive the Covid-19 vaccine. This euphoria aided billionaires' worldwide wealth growth by an astounding $5 trillion since the pandemic's inception in March 2020.
However, is this the start of the end? Earlier this month, an E-Trade survey of 957 active investors revealed that 69% of respondents believed the market was in a bubble.
Certainly, a slew of investors, including some of the country's wealthiest, have cashed in. According to Forbes, Ernest Garcia II, the largest individual shareholder of used car e-commerce company Carvana, has been the biggest billionaire seller in recent months. Garcia, who was convicted of criminal fraud in 1990 for his minor role in Charles Keating's Lincoln Savings & Loan scandal, has sold $1.8 billion worth of shares since November.
Chamath Palihapitiya, a venture capitalist and financier, has been the largest liquidator by percentage of his fortune since November, when he sold his entire personal stake in Virgin Galactic for pre-tax proceeds of $311 million, or about one-fourth of his $1.2 billion net worth.
Garcia and Palihapitiya are two of twenty billionaires in the United States who sold $8.7 billion worth of stock in the last six months. Some have sold in accordance with Rule 10b5-1 trading plans, which permit insiders to sell their company's stock on a predetermined schedule. Others simply liquidated large portions of their stock on the open market. Between November 1, 2020 and April 22, 2021, each of them sold at least $100 million in stock (pre-tax); three sold more than $1 billion in stock. The following are the net worths as of April 28. Forbes reached out to each of these billionaires' representatives for comment.
Ernest Garcia, Jr.
$17.4 billion in net worth
Since November, sales have totaled $1.80 billion.
Garcia is the largest shareholder in Carvana, his son Ernest Garcia III's used car business. Since March 2020, its shares have increased tenfold, helping the elder Garcia's fortune grow from $2.4 billion to $15.9 billion in a single year. He has sold shares almost daily for the last six months in accordance with a trading plan he and his wife established on June 15, 2020, after shares quadrupled in a three-month span. Garcia II, 64, is not employed by Carvana nor does he serve on its board of directors; he currently owns approximately 30% of Carvana shares.
$111 billion in net worth
Since November, sales have totaled $1.63 billion.
Facebook's founder regularly sells shares transferred to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, an advocacy, investment, and philanthropic organization he founded in 2015 with his wife Priscilla Chan to support global causes such as education and science. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has accounted for the majority of the $1.6 billion in Facebook share sales since November 2020.
$26.9 billion in net worth
Since November, sales have totaled $1.05 billion.
LAL Family Partners L.P., which is owned by the family of Estée Lauder's long-serving chairman and CEO, will sell two million shares in November 2020 and March 2021. Since March 2020, the stock of Estée Lauder has more than doubled, and the sales represent a small portion of Leonard Lauder's $24 billion stake in the company. Ronald Lauder, his younger brother, sold $108 million of his own stock during the same time period.
Twitter's Jack Dorsey
$14.2 billion in net worth
Since November, sales have totaled $529 million.
Dorsey is the cofounder and CEO of two large publicly traded companies, Twitter and Square, though his fortune is largely derived from his Square stock. He has been selling 100,000 shares of payments company Square each week (a tiny fraction of his 49.2 million shares), but has not sold any of his Twitter stock. He now owns 11% of Square.
$7.2 billion in net worth
Since November, sales have totaled $342 million.
Roku shares, which Wood founded in 2002, have increased nearly 400% since March 2020, owing to viewers spending more time at home in front of the television during the pandemic. Wood regularly exercises stock options granted as part of his CEO compensation that expire in July 2022 and then sells them for a profit—the cost of exercising the options is not included in the $342 million in pretax proceeds from his sales since November. Wood retains a 15% stake in Roku.
$5 billion in net worth
Since November, sales have totaled $334 million.
Netflix's stock has been flat since July's peak, and Hastings, the company's founder and CEO, has not sold any shares in 2021. In each month of 2020, he exercised options and sold shares, including $334 million in pretax sales in November and December.
$1.2 billion in net worth
Since November, sales have totaled $311 million.
Palihapitiya, an outspoken venture capitalist who facilitated the initial public offerings of three startups through SPAC mergers, sold his personal stake in Virgin Galactic in two installments in December and March. In a March statement, he stated that the sale would finance "a significant investment I am making toward combating climate change." Additionally, he tweeted, "I was dreading it, but my balance sheet shrunk by nearly $2 billion this week. NB: I have not sold any of the other SPACs I have founded."
$11 billion in net worth
Since November, sales have totaled $292 million.
Armstrong is the CEO of Coinbase Global, a cryptocurrency exchange that went public in mid-April. While executives are typically prohibited from selling shares during a predetermined lockup period in a traditional IPO, because Coinbase went public via a direct listing, insiders were free to sell their existing shares directly to investors. Armstrong, who is also Coinbase's cofounder, sold approximately 2% of his shares for $292 million pre-tax on the day of the direct listing.
$4.1 billion in net worth
Since November, sales have totaled $278 million.
McKelvey, who cofounded Square with Jack Dorsey in 2009 and continues to serve on the company's board of directors and owns nearly 3.5 percent of the company, has sold a portion of his Square stock each month since August 2020. Square's stock has increased by more than 500% since March 2020.
$2.1 billion in net worth
Since November, sales have totaled $247 million.
Lê-Quôc, cofounder and chief technology officer of Datadog, sells shares at the start of each month in accordance with a pre-determined trading plan. The cloud monitoring company's stock price soared in the early months of the pandemic, but it is now down 22% from its February high. Olivier Pomel, the CEO of Datadog and a French national, has sold shares worth $215 million in the last six months.
$14.7 billion in net worth
Since November, sales have totaled $245 million.
Duffield has sold approximately $200 million in Workday stock on a predetermined schedule since November, and his foundation has sold an additional $45 million in Workday stock. Duffield resigned as chairman of Workday on April 1, the human resources software company he cofounded in 2005 at the age of 64. With a 20% stake, he is the company's largest individual shareholder.
$14.6 billion in net worth
Since November, sales have totaled $238 million.
Zoom was one of the pandemic's breakout performers, but its stock has fallen 40% since October. Yuan, the company's founder and CEO, sells shares on a scheduled basis, though his sales represent only a small portion of his $14 billion stake in the company.
$2.1 billion in net worth
Since November, sales have totaled $232 million.
Karp went public last September with his data mining company Palantir Technologies and has exercised options and sold shares every month since. Palantir's stock quadrupled in the first four months but has fallen nearly 40% since late January.
$3.8 billion in net worth
Since November, sales have totaled $214 million.
Ehrsam, Brian Armstrong's cofounder, has also been an active seller since Coinbase's direct listing two weeks ago, selling approximately 5% of his stake in the company in several batches of sales.
$1.6 billion in net worth
Since November, sales have totaled $196 million.
Skillz, Paradise's mobile gaming company, went public in December 2020 via a SPAC merger, and the stock rose 140 percent in its first two months of trading before reversing course in the following two months. On March 23, Paradise sold 8.4 million shares, or roughly 10% of his stake. In response to the sale, a company spokesperson stated that he is Skillz's largest shareholder and "has the greatest incentive of any Skillz investor to ensure the company's long-term success."
$6.6 billion in net worth
Since November, sales have totaled $178 million.
L Brands, the parent company of Victoria's Secret founded nearly 60 years ago by Wexner, began recovering from a years-long decline in value last year when its stock more than doubled, and Wexner cashed in on March 22 by selling three million shares from trusts he controls. Wexner resigned as chairman and CEO in May and will also leave the board of directors of L Brands next month.
$3.8 billion in net worth
Since November, sales have totaled $168 million.
Silbermann, Pinterest's cofounder and CEO, regularly exercised options and sold 2.5 million shares of the photo-sharing website.
$2.9 billion in net worth
Since November, sales have totaled $153 million.
Sarowitz, the founder and chairman of Paylocity, sold 400,000 shares worth $72 million on December 11, in addition to his Rule 10b5-1 sales in smaller increments. He remains the beneficial owner of over 12.5 million shares of the payroll provider's stock.
has a net worth of $3.6 billion.
Since November, sales have totaled $121 million.
The four-year rally in Boston Beer stock accelerated during the pandemic, with shares up 300 percent since March 2020 and tenfold since 2017. Koch has sold shares on a regular basis for years but has not done so since December. He owns nearly 20% of the company he cofounded in 1984, which is best known for producing Samuel Adams beer. The company's hard seltzer and spiked iced tea have soared in popularity.
Since November, sales have totaled $108 million.
Ullal, one of only 23 self-made female billionaires in the United States, sells shares of Arista Networks in small increments on a scheduled basis several times a month. Since 2008, she has served as president and CEO of the cloud networking company, whose shares have increased 54 percent since the beginning of November.