Just when I thought we’d all learned our lessons about “irrational exuberance,” it seems that Facebook is allowing an early stock deal for employees. For all those die-hards who took crazy option and stock grant deals in lieu of cash, Santa’s coming in September. In a one-time deal, employees will be able to sell some of their shares in the privately held company. Some employees will also be able to buy stock in this transaction. Pretty interesting.
This brings back fond memories of the ol’ internet days, when CMGi (remember them?) mattered, and working for one of their companies mattered. Well, I worked for one (Virtual Ink) for about 10 minutes, and I now reside in a space with less than 700 sqft. Maybe Facebook isn’t heading the way of my old gig, but I always get suspicious when I see these sorts of transactions.
But, the Facebook deal may make some sense. In fact, it can help the employees make some money now instead of holding out hope for an IPO or acquisition. They can take this opportunity to recapture some of the cash they sacrificed by taking equity, and they can diversify their portfolios. That’s reasonable. Also, there’s a cool employee retention angle here. Cash in pockets keeps employees from looking for higher-paying jobs.
The guys at LinkedIn– the social networking site for grown-up people– are getting in on this action, too. ValleyWag reported today that employees could sell up to 20 percent of their vested shares … based on an astronomical company valuation of $500 million! Of course, this compares to 2008 revenues (projected) of $100 million, making this deal crazier than Penthouse’s acquisition of Various, Inc.
If you want to see some real insanity, check out Comcast’s acquisition of DailyCandy. Comcast wanted to spend $75 million, but some how dropped $125 million on a fucking e-mail newsletter company. It’s absolutely absurd. More proof that I shouldn’t have majored in philosophy …