The beginning of the end for Facebook? PayPal billionaire who was its first investor sells most of his shares worth $1 BILLION
- Peter Thiel invested $500,000 in Facebook in 2004
- Believed to have made around over $1bn from cashing in his Facebook stock since the firm went public
- Also recently invested in firm aiming to grow steaks in the lab
One of Facebook’s first investors has bailed out of the firm and sold 20 million shares.
PayPal billionaire Peter Thiel, one of Facebook’s earliest investors and a member of its board, was among the insiders selling stock in the social network after a lockup expired last week, it has emerged.
As one of Facebook’s initial investors, he invested $500,000 in the company in 2004.
Peter Thiel, one of Facebook’s first investors. Today it was revealed he has sold over 20 million of his shares in the firm as its stock price plunges.
A regulatory filing said that Thiel, a former CEO at PayPal sold about 20 million shares of Facebook through affiliates such as his Founders Fund and other firms last week.
Thiel invest in dozens of startups through Founders Fund, and also recently back a firm planing to grow steaks in the lab.
The shares were sold on Thursday and Friday for between $19.27 and $20.69, for a total of $396 million.
He also sold 16.8 million shares in the company’s May initial public offering, making $640m.
It is now believed he has sold most of his stock in Facebook.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has so far been unable to sell stock in the firm. It is estimated its plunging stock price has so far cost him $10bn
Thiel is expected to use the cash to fund a new investment firm set up earlier this year
With partner Ajay Royan, his latest firm, called Mithril, will invest in new firms that have already received some venture capital but need more to expand.
The firm will have an office in San Francisco.
Thiel also has his own foundation, and awards cash to promising youngsters who decide not to attend university.
Another 1.66 billion locked-up Facebook shares will be freed up for sale over the next nine months, likely to place more pressure on the stock.
One of the biggest tests will come in November when the next batch of 1.2 billion shares will be eligible for sale.
As Facebook’s share price continues to plummet, critics have accused Mark Zuckerberg of being ‘in over his hoodie’ and called for him to step down as CEO.
Corporate experts have suggested that the 28-year-old founder should stick to what he does best as a technological innovator and hand the CEO reins over to a more experienced executive.
And any doubts about Zuckerberg were further compounded on Thursday as the company’s stock price plunged to an all-time low dropping to $19.87 – almost half its IPO price.
‘There is a growing sense that Mark Zuckerberg, talented though he may be, is in over his hoodie as CEO of a multibillion-dollar public company,’ Sam Hamadeh, head of research firm PrivCo, told the Los Angeles Times.