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Mark Zuckerberg: Bad Santa

Published on December 5, 2008
by John Paczkowski

Facebook’s virtual gift market may turn out to be the best holiday shopping option for employees hoping to cash out some of their shares. On Thursday, the company postponed a program that would have allowed employees to sell up to 20 percent of their vested shares. “The global economy is in the midst of an incredibly difficult period, and all companies have been affected in some way,” Facebook said in a statement. “After carefully considering the current environment, we’ve decided to establish an open-ended timetable for an employee stock sale program.”

An open-ended timetable for an employee stock sale program.

Perhaps it’s the same “open-ended timetable” Facebook’s using for that mythical liquidity event, hmm? Without a silver bullet business model and no stable revenue stream to speak of, investors were bound to question Facebook’s perceived valuation sooner or later. And, apparently that’s exactly what happened, according to Valleywag’s Owen Thomas. “Facebook’s common shares…have a value that put the whole company’s worth at around $4 billion,” Thomas explains. “Or they did. A source close to potential investors said they wanted to buy shares from employees at a lower valuation, or with guarantees similar to Microsoft’s. To reward a small number of employees who had enough shares to benefit from the program, [Facebook] would have had to give away something for nothing.”

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