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Microsoft, Steve Ballmer
AP Photo / Paul Sakuma
Steve Ballmer’s now a baller.

Steve Ballmer can easily afford the LA Clippers because he fired himself from Microsoft

By John McDuling

Steve Ballmer wants to buy the LA Clippers for $2 billion, a record price for an NBA franchise that has upset some people.

But for a man whose net worth is estimated at $20 billion by Forbes, $2 billion probably isn’t such a big deal. Indeed, he made more than that just on the appreciation of his Microsoft stock over the last nine months.

Firing himself may have been his best move: Since he decided to step down as Microsoft’s CEO in August of last year, shares in the software giant have appreciated by around 25%. According to Factset, Ballmer still holds about 333.25 million Microsoft shares—about 4% of the company—and hasn’t sold any stock since he stepped down (in fact, he recently added 917 shares to his position, according to FactSet).

That stake is today worth about $13.5 billion, compared to about $10.8 billion the day before he announced his decision to step aside. When you can make that much money (at least on paper) for not running a company, why not buy a basketball team with it?

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