From founders to decorators,Facebook riches

The graffiti artist who took Facebook stock instead of cash for painting the walls of the social network’s first headquarters made a smart bet. The shares owned by the artist,David Choe,are expected to be worth upward of $200 million when Facebook stock trades publicly.

Written by New York Times | San Francisco | Published: February 3, 2012 1:08 am

NICK BILTON & EVELYN M RUSLI

The graffiti artist who took Facebook stock instead of cash for painting the walls of the social network’s first headquarters made a smart bet. The shares owned by the artist,David Choe,are expected to be worth upward of $200 million when Facebook stock trades publicly.

The social network company announced its $5 billion public offering Wednesday afternoon,which is expected to value the whole company at $75 billion to $100 billion. Ultimately,that offering will mint a lot of billionaires and millionaires.

Some of them are well known,like Mark Zuckerberg,the company’s co-founder,but many others are not household names. Zuckerberg,27,has 533.8 million shares,worth $28.4 billion based on a company valuation of $100 billion,or $53 a share. He also has undisputed control of the company,a remarkable achievement since the company has received financing from some of the world’s top business minds. He owns 28.4 percent of the company outright and he controls 57 percent of the voting rights.

Facebook’s first outside investor,Peter Thiel,the billionaire contrarian,led a $5,00,000 investment in Facebook in late 2004. He has 44.7 million shares that could be worth more than $2 billion. Elevation Partners,the venture capital firm of Bono,the U2 frontman,paid $120 million for a chunk of Facebook’s shares in 2010 and could receive a payout that would help mask less sage investments in Palm and Forbes. Accel Partners,whose principal partner,Jim Breyer,invested in the start-up seven years ago,holds 201.4 million shares. Accel could have a thousandfold return on some of its investment. Sheryl Sandberg,the company’s chief operating officer,holds 1.9 million shares,about 0.1 per cent of the company. But she may ultimately collect 38.1 mil-lion additional shares,according to the filing,making her one of the richest in a tiny club of Silicon Valley women who are billionaires.

The wealth created by a technology company’s entrance into the public markets has long been startling. Netscape’s 1995 offering made millionaires of scores of people,including its founder Marc Andreessen,now a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who invested early in Facebook and holds 3.6 million shares worth nearly $200 million. When Google went to market with its $1.67 billion IPO in 2004,hundreds of people joined the millionaire ranks,including secretaries,a company masseuse and a company chef.

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