Just days after selling Current TV to Qatar-based Al Jazeera and pocketing a cool $100 million, Al Gore is proving once again what a good capitalist he has become. The former U.S. vice president recently bought 59,000 shares of Apple for just $7.475 each.
However, this isn’t a story that bashes Gore. Rather, like a recent Forbes piece, it is one that heaps praise on the guy for making money when he had the chance.
The vice president serves on the Apple board and has for almost 10 years. When he joined, at Steve Jobs’ request, Apple wasn’t doing so well, despite launching the first iPod three years earlier.
As a board member, Gore is required to attend a few board meetings each year, and also say nice things about Apple and the company’s products. He is also said to advise Google from time to time.
For this, Jobs offered Gore options to buy Apple stock at the price that it was when he joined the board. In other words, at just over $7 per share.
Those options were set to expire in March.
As Jobs told Time magazine at the time of Gore’s appointment to the board:
We have dug ourselves into a 20-foot hole, and we need somebody who knows how to build a ladder. Al’s the guy.
I have no problem with Gore paying $440,000 for shares that are currently worth close to $30 million. In fact, I would have been surprised if he hadn’t called in those options.
Looked another way, Gore’s purchase comes at a time when Apple need a little lift. Since September, the company’s stock has nose-dived. And as we have reported often, there are many on Wall Street who are worried about the company’s long-term prospects.
So I say, good job Al Gore. Thank you for putting your faith (and cash) into the company millions of us love.