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Pierre Omidyar Gives Away Almost 10 Million Shares of eBay

eBay founder Pierre Omidyar has given away 10 percent of his shares in the ecommerce company, part of a massive philanthropic initiative from a multi-billionaire who has indicated his desire to give away most of his fortune.

In a regulatory filing this week, eBay disclosed that Omidyar, who serves on the company’s board of directors, gave away 9.6 million shares of stock on Aug. 13.

eBay shares closed at $27.99 that day. Using that end-of-day share price as a multiplier, Omidyar’s gift would amount to nearly $270 million.

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The Omidyar Group – which “represents the philanthropic, personal and professional interests of Pierre and Pam Omidyar,” according to its website – did not respond to requests for comment on what organization will receive the shares or what cause they will be put in service of.

A spokesman for eBay also did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the stock donation, which is denoted as a “bona fide gift” in the company’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Omidyar has channeled his considerable resources to a variety of causes, including many social and humanitarian issues such as financial inclusion, education, and combating human trafficking.

Each year since 2002, the Omidyars have placed in the Chronicle’s list of top 50 donors, with their lower rank coming in 2006, when they placed No. 29 after having given away a (meager!) $66.7 million. The publication tallied the couple’s charitable donations in 2013 at $225 million, by far their largest total contributions in a single year, but less than the amount Pierre Omidyar likely gave away in eBay shares last month.

However, while the Omidyars no doubt rank among the nation’s leading philanthropists, it is worth noting that they have made a habit of splitting their contributions between nonprofit organizations and for-profit firms where they can “put profits to work for social good through impact investing.” The Omidyars’ approach to philanthropy has been likened to the way that venture capital firms evaluate startups they are considering as potential targets for investment, favoring those that serve a worthy cause but do so under a sustainable business model.

After the most recent gift, Omidyar still directly owns 86,339,558 shares of eBay stock, and indirectly owns another 70,000 with Pam. He also owns shares in PayPal following its separation from eBay in July.

Kenneth Corbin on Linkedin
Kenneth Corbin

Kenneth Corbin is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. He has written on politics, technology and other subjects since 2007, most recently as the Washington correspondent for InternetNews.com, covering Congress, the White House, the FCC and other regulatory affairs. He can be found on LinkedIn.


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