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Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Is on Pace to Earn $1 Billion in Dividends Annually From His Massive Stake in the Software Company He joined the company in 1980 as employee number 30.

By matthew fox

Key Takeaways

  • Steve Ballmer is on pace to collect annual dividend payments of $1 billion from Microsoft.
  • He is the former CEO of Microsoft and is the largest individual shareholder of the software giant.
  • Ballmer's Microsoft stake has surged to a value of $128 billion this year following Microsoft's 55% stock rally.
Stephen Dunn | Getty Images via Business Insider

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Microsoft is on track to pay former CEO Steve Ballmer about $1 billion in annual dividend payments.

Ballmer, who is currently the sixth richest person in the world, is the largest individual shareholder in Microsoft. As of his last ownership disclosure in 2014, Ballmer owned 333.2 million shares of Microsoft, representing about 4% of the company.

Today, his stake is worth $128 billion, according to Bloomberg's Billionaire Index, after gaining $42 billion in wealth this year thanks to a 55% rally in Microsoft's stock price.

Ballmer amassed his stake over the course of his 34-year career at Microsoft, having joined the company in 1980 as employee number 30. He went on to become CEO of Microsoft in 2000, near the peak of the dot-com bubble, and stepped down in 2014 when current CEO Satya Nadella took over the top role.

Microsoft paid $2.79 in dividends per share in 2023, which equates to an annual dividend payment of about $930 million to Ballmer based on his stake in the company.

That payout is set to increase in 2024, as Microsoft lifted its dividend 10% recently to pay $3 per share a year. That would equate to an annual dividend payment of $999.6 million to Ballmer in 2024, and it could be even higher assuming Microsoft continues its trend of hiking its dividend payment every year.

Microsoft has increased its dividend payment for 18 consecutive years, so its likely that Ballmer's annual dividend payout will top $1 billion in 2024 and continue to grow in the coming years.

Ballmer's massive stake in Microsoft has put him within spitting distance of becoming the fourth richest person in the world, as he's just a few billion dollars behind Larry Ellison and his former boss, Bill Gates.

Gates has significantly diversified his wealth away from Microsoft and towards cash and other public equities since he stepped down from the company. In fact, in 2014, Gates also owned about 4% of Microsoft, having a 330 million share stake in the company. But multiple divestitures over the years has led Gates to owning just over 1% of the software giant.

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