Spotify CEO Ek Cashes in on Streaming Giant’s 267% Stock Rebound says Bloomberg

Spotify Technology SA co-founder Daniel Ek is pocketing gains from the audio-streaming giant’s stock rebound while increasingly building up his investments outside the company.

Ek has filed to sell 650,000 shares of the Swedish firm in recent months through two separate transactions. That’s the first time he’s unloaded stock more than once at this stage of the year since 2021, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from regulatory documents.

He filed his latest sale document on Wednesday for shares worth about $119 million through JPMorgan Chase & Co., after lining up almost $60 million in February from another transaction.

Ek sold the stock as part of his long-term financial planning, a representative for Spotify said. The 41-year-old chief executive officer still controls a roughly 7% stake in the Stockholm-based company, which makes up the bulk of his $4.4 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Ek joins a wave of tech billionaires including Dell Technologies Inc.’s Michael Dell, Inc.’s Jeff Bezos and Meta Platforms Inc.’s Mark Zuckerberg in cutting their stakes following a run-up in the share prices of their firms. Spotify’s stock has surged 267% since the end of 2022 as it rebounded from a growth slowdown and the lingering effects of the pandemic.

Spotify gained the most in almost two years on Tuesday after reporting it swung to a profit in the first quarter from boosting subscribers and adding new features. Paid subscribers rose 14% year-over-year to 239 million, in line with analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Total active users, including those on free plans with advertising, grew to 615 million.

Outside of Spotify, Ek has shifted his wealth in recent years into investments focused on artificial intelligence, life sciences and climate as part of his plan to put about $1 billion of his net worth in European startups. His investment firm, Prima Matera, has bet on German security company Helsing and last year invested €10 million ($10.7 million) in Epiterna, a Swiss startup that works on slowing the aging process.

Ek, who founded Spotify in 2006 with Martin Lorentzon, filed to offload about $160 million of the audio-streaming company’s stock last year in two transactions starting in July, filings show.

He most recently sold in the first half of the year in 2022 through a single block of more than 800,000 shares, netting him about $120 million. The Swedish native cut his stake on three occasions in the first six months of 2021, earning him more than $200 million in his most lucrative year of selling since Spotify’s 2018 initial public offering in New York, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Other individual shareholders at Spotify also moved to cut their holdings this month, with co-Presidents Alex Norström and Gustav Söderström filing to sell stock worth at least $35 million combined, filings show. Lorentzon, 55, most recently lowered his stake in Spotify in 2021, with the company still making up almost all of his roughly $6.5 billion fortune, according to Bloomberg’s wealth index.

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