Mega-payday for Facebook employees

Facebook might have plans to allow its employees sell up to US$1-billion in shares at a price that would value the social networking site at $60-billion, according to US-based industry blog All Things Digital.

Such a sale would allow Facebook employees to raise money on their stakes in the company while the firm considers selling shares in an initial public offering (IPO). This move would open doors for large institutional investors in the privately-held California company, reported All Things Digital.

The Silicon Valley-based company recently obtained US$1.5-billion in finances from investment firms Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Digital Sky Technologies, valuing the social network at US$50-billion. This new offering means that Facebook believes its worth has jumped 20 percent since last month.

The price of the possible employee stock sale would give Facebook a bigger valuation than companies like Boeing or Time Warner.

Yet its annual revenue, primarily based on advertising, is estimated at US$2-billion, compared with Boeing’s US$64.62-billion and Time Warner’s $26.5-billion.

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is said to own a quarter of the company, has resisted pressure to launch an initial public offering of stock. The 26-year-old was recently named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year.”

The news of Facebook’s potential share sale follows revelations that Facebook and Google are both interested Twitter. The price for the fast growing but still loss-making firm is said to be between US$8-billion and US$10-billion.

Facebook plans to start reporting financial results by April 2012, even if it hasn’t held an IPO, according to a document sent to prospective investors, according to Bloomberg. The company would be forced to make disclosures because it expects to have at least 500 shareholders by year-end, a threshold that makes reporting results necessary under U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rules, a person who reviewed the document said last month.



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