Facebook employees are about to find out what turned their boss on about a billion dollars. The company is looking to unload around $1 billion in employee-owned stock, as the worker bees who have sacrificed cash for years look for a bit of upside. And, Facebook is doing it in style.
The social media company is looking to help its devoted employees cash out of some shares at a valuation of $60 billion … that’s “cool” 60 times over. It’s also a 20 percent jump over the company’s previous valuation of $50 billion.
The U.S. economy is too reliant on consumers, according to White House economic advisor Paul Volcker. He told President Barack Obama on Monday that trimming our dependence on the consumer could come in the form of boosting exports, enhancing the national infrastructure and investing in green technology. Volcker, who used to be chairman of the Federal Reserve, believes that with consumer spending responsible for 70% of the U.S. economy, it requires “the magic of financial engineering” to keep it afloat. Simply, he said, “We cannot have so much consumption.”
If we try to rebuild the economy in its previous image, Volcker believes, “It will just break down again,” he told a global financial conference in Naples, Florida.
GreenHunter Energy picked up its stake in the Chinese manufacturer of industrial-scale wind turbines back in late 2007. It seems pretty safe to infer that the company made the move back then because the U.S. equivalent wasn’t far enough along. Now, says CEO Gary Evans, the U.S. wind turbine biz is far enough along, making it preferable to owning a piece of a Chinese company.
The Chinese government is committing $1.32 billion to launch venture capital funds jointly with several of its provinces, according to a Reuters report. Private investors will also be involved in the effort, the purpose of which is to bolster the growth of the high-tech sector across China. Specific sectors that will benefit include information technology, energy, pharma and environmental.
China isn’t spending all its money in one place. Rather, it’s spreading the cash across 20 venture capital funds. One billion yuan (slightly more than 10% of the capital) will come from the Chinese government, with 1.2 billion yuan coming from the local governments. The rest is being kicked in by the private sector.
Our neighbors to the north are trying to bring the heat on us. When I was up in Montreal two weeks ago, I did hear the usual “mine is bigger” argument going on in the lobby of the Opus Hotel, as a Canadian went on and on and on about healthcare. The day before, a bit of channel surfing brought me to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, talking about how Canada had fared better than the United States through the worldwide financial crisis. Now, the Canadians are saying that the U.S. has to do a better job of managing its financial system, because when Americans sneeze, the rest of the world blames us for giving them a cold.