It’s a big story alright, but who are the key players? We are of course referring to the buyers in Facebook’s share floatation. If you’re curious about who gets all of those billions of dollars, then read on. You might be surprised by one or two of the beneficiaries!
1) Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg now has billions in cash and has pulled neck and neck with investment giant George Soros (who is a stately 81 years old in comparison to Zuckerberg’s sprightly 28). He still managed to lose out on the title of ‘America’s Youngest Billionaire’ to his former Harvard roommate and early Facebook employee Dustin Moskovitz, who is Zuckerberg’s junior by eight days. The Facebook IPO is probably the biggest tech story of 2012, outclassing the mobile network wars and the furore over British broadband deals, so it’s safe to say that Zuckerberg has earned the overall title of ‘tech legend’.
2) Sheryl Sandberg
Sandberg, the Google defector is worth around $72 million although she isn’t selling in the IPO. Sandberg’s tenure as COO (Chief Operating Officer) has seen Facebook’s user base grow to 900 million users. Her salary is a (relatively) modest 300K per annum, but her future profits should leave more than fairly compensated for turning Facebook into the mega-empire it is.
3) Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs was one of the earliest investors in Facebook, creating special new products to help keep Facebook buoyant when it reached 500 shareholders. This happened in order to prevent the company from having to declare the same information as publically owned companies are required to.
4) Mark Pinkus
The founder of Zynga (the social games empire with a mutually beneficial historic partnership with Facebook) Mark Pinkus will be $163.6 million will be better off after the IPO. Social gaming has helped to keep users engaged with Facebook over the years.
It might surprise you to know that Microsoft own a stake in Facebook, albeit a very small one. After Facebook resisted their offer of fifteen billion a few years, Microsoft were determined to get a piece of the Facebook cake one way or another. Their stock is currently valued at $1.6 billion, which makes it even more valuable than their own stock.
Why is it so fascinating? We’ve seen a pioneering company mature during our own lifetime into something that’s synonymous with the way we communicate nowadays. Will the initial hype about the share sale turn out to be as exciting as expected, or will people hedge their bets on a company that’s so influencial but still perhaps a little too mysterious.