Jeff Bezos Sold Amazon Shares to Fund Blue Origin

24th May 2021
Jeff Bezos - Founder of Blue Origin

The head of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, has sold shares worth almost $5 billion since the beginning of this month, according to documents he filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Bezos is set to step down as Amazon CEO later this month as he has decided to focus on his aerospace company – Blue Origin.

The Deal of the Month: Amazon Shares Sold

It all started on Monday 3rd May when Jeff Bezos sold 1,700 Amazon shares for $3,373 per share. This was the first of approximately 300 transactions. Last Thursday, the last deal was concluded to sell 426 shares at $3,313 per share. The total value of shares sold by the Amazon executive was $4.9 billion. It turned out to be one of the largest share deals in the company since Bezos announced his decision to step down as CEO earlier this year.

The share sale comes as Blue Origin awaits the outcome of a complaint filed over a nearly $3 billion NASA contract awarded to a competitor, SpaceX, Elon Musk’s company. Bezos is known to fund his aerospace company by selling some of his assets at Amazon, which allowed him to become the richest man in the world and he has maintained that title for years.

Blue Origin vs. SpaceX: The Competition Goes On

The competition between Blue Origin and SpaceX will only intensify in the near future. It will escalate under the Artemis program, which provides for the resumption of manned missions and the colonisation of the Moon. As NASA chose SpaceX as the winner in the NextSTEP-2 competition for the development of the launch and landing modules, Blue Origin filed its complaint. Companies are competing in other areas as well, in particular in the further development of reusable spacecraft. While SpaceX is currently the only company in the world to operate reusable rockets capable of delivering payloads to the International Space Station and deep space, Blue Origin is still developing its own reusable heavy-lift rocket called New Glenn.

Blue Origin’s application for a NASA contract in the NextSTEP-2 competition came under the spotlight because of their request for advance payments. As explained by Assistant Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Mission at NASA Katie Lueders, such a query went against the rules for attracting contract submissions.

While there is no official information on where the proceeds from the sale of Amazon shares will go, it is highly likely that Bezos will channel it to fund his spacecraft projects. The company should accelerate the development and testing of the New Glenn rocket. Its first flight is scheduled for the fourth quarter of next year, which is in line with the launch schedule of Blue Origin’s customer.

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