Tim Cook has option to convert $100M in vested Apple shares

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Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook will have the option to convert over 200,000 shares of company stock, worth nearly $100 million, which will become vested in the first quarter of 2012.

A study released on Thursday by equity research firm Equilar revealed that more than $780 million of equity will be available for sale by Silicon Valley executives in the first quarter of 2012, and Apple CEO Cook leads the pack with an estimated $96.2 million option, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"Each year, the vesting of equity awards spikes in the first quarter," said Equilar Chief Executive David Chun.

The firm used the data from the study to compile a list ranking the values of vested stock options for the industry's top executives.

The $96.2 million estimate is based on Dec. 30, 2011 Apple stock prices, and overshadows the $16.4 million in upcoming vested equity that the list's second place executive Google Chairman Eric Schmidt can cash in this quarter. Rounding out the top three is eBay CEO John Donahoe with $10.5 million in vested shares.

Cook's shares include part of two restricted-stock-unit grants, one of which he received when he filled in as interim CEO during Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' medical leave in early 2011.

Should the new CEO not choose to convert the shares, they of course would continue to accrue value as long as Apple's stock price continues to rise.

A resurgence of Silicon Valley business has recently lead to an overall increase in stock sales as executives sold $1.6 billion worth of shares during the first quarter of 2011, a 50 percent rise from the $1.1 billion sold during the same period in 2010.