Facebook may allow sale of $1 bn employee shares

| | Updated on: Feb 11, 2011

Facebook is mulling to allow employees sell up to $1 billion of their shares to institutional investors, valuing the social networking firm at $60 billion.

“Facebook is exploring permitting a tender offer up to $1 billion of its employee shares, after being approached by a number of big institutional investors about investing in the company,” technology news website All Things Digital reported citing a source.

The report noted that interest is high among big institutional investors who want a piece of Facebook before its inevitable initial public offering (IPO), the report noted.

Facebook’s current valuation is estimated to be $60 billion, which is a significant increase to a recent $1.5 billion investment by Goldman Sachs and its international clients that had pegged the social networking behemoth at a $50 billion valuation, it added.

The news of Facebook’s potential share sale surfaced after media reports said that Facebook and Google held low-level talks over the possible acquisition of the micro-blogging site Twitter. The price for the fast growing site is said to be between $8 billion and $10 billion.

The move would allow Facebook employees to monetise their privately held shares, since the company is not likely to have an IPO for at least a year, the technology site said.

Facebook co-founder Mr Mark Zuckerberg had taken a similar move in mid-2009, when one of its major investors, DST, forked over $100 million for employee shares in a transaction that was in addition to a $200 million investment.

Published on February 11, 2011

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