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Facebook boss set to offer company shares

Graeme Parton

The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has announced his intention to sell company shares worth more than  $2 billion. It will be the first time since the firm went public in 2012, with many early backers set to make the most of the opportunity.

Over 41 million shares will be sold by Zuckerberg, accounting for the largest portion of the 70 million shares on offer. At the time of last week’s announcement, the shares were valued at $55.57 each.

According to Facebook, the money Zuckerberg raises from the sales will go towards the taxes he is set to incur by purchasing another 60 million B class shares. The company operates with two share categories – A-class shares are commonly traded, with each counting for one vote. B-class shares, however, have 10 votes each.

After the offering, it is thought the 29-year-old New Yorker will retain around 62 per cent of the firm’s voting power, representing a drop of just less than three per cent. The news comes after Zuckerberg sold 30 million shares, with a value of more than $1 billion, during his company’s IPO in 2012.

Facebook itself is expected to offer around 27 million shares, with a combined value of more than $1.5 billion. In a statement, it said:

“We do not currently have any specific uses of the net proceeds planned.

“We may use a portion of the proceeds to us for acquisitions of complementary businesses, technologies or other assets.”

A number of other stockholders will also be selling their shares. Early backer Mark Andreeson, for example, will put 1.6 million shares up for grabs, with a total value standing at almost $89 million.

After its less-than-successful IPO, Facebook’s share value fell to around $17, with investors expressing concerns over mobile advertisement revenue. The figure then didn’t pass $38 for more than 12 months.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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