Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dealbook Column - The Value of a Donation of Facebook Shares to Newark - NYTimes.com


I don't know about you, but when I saw the news report last week that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was donating $100 million to the Newark Public School system I thought: Where does he get the money?

Facebook, of course, is still a private company but is probably worth billions - we'll have to see when the company actually goes public. I assume that Zuckerberg is paid a salary, but monetizing his part of Facebook is where the real money is.

Today's Dealbook Column in the New York Times discusses this question. Here's an excerpt:

{Mark} Zuckerberg is...giving away $100 million worth of Facebook shares to Startup: Education, a new foundation he has started and on whose board he will sit. The foundation, in turn, will sell the shares for cash in what’s known as the “secondary market,” a nebulous world where big-time investors buy into companies before they go public — through the back door.

It turns out that there is a robust market for Facebook shares, even though most people can’t buy them. The going price has been about $76 a share, The Financial Times reported last month, implying a market value of $33 billion. Dozens of employees have sold their shares in the secondary market.

I guess there is some controversy over whether Zuckerberg's gift is really worth $100 million, which seems pretty petty: Any way you slice it, and whatever Zuckerberg's true motivation is (the movie about Facebook comes out soon), it's a generous gesture.


Dealbook Column - The Value of a Donation of Facebook Shares to Newark - NYTimes.com