No one can ever accuse Yuri Milner of not having faith in Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook leadership team. Less than two months ago, Milner’s Russian investment firm DST invested $200 million for just under 2% of the company in the form of preferred stock, without getting a board seat. Now, DST is moving forward with the employee stock purchase agreement it and Facebook announced at the same time it announced the $200 million investment in May.
Under the terms of the common stock purchase plan, DST is offering to buy up to $100 million in Facebook common stock at a $6.5 billion valuation, or $14.77 per share, starting now through sometime in August. (This is less than the $10 billion valuation placed on the purchase of the preferred shares.) Facebook executives do not qualify for the program, though most current and former employees do.
Last year, Facebook’s efforts to help employees sell stock largely didn’t end up going through. Now, many Facebook employees have the chance to cash out at higher valuation levels. Will many employees sell now?
“While individuals must make their own decisions about participating in this program, I’m pleased that the price DST is offering is much greater than the price originally considered last fall,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said. “This is recognition of Facebook’s growth and progress towards making the world more open and connected.”
Facebook says revenues will grow 70% in 2009 to what is estimated to be over $500 million. While Facebook says it isn’t planning on going public for a while, DST is snapping up as much Facebook stock as it can get.